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Year Two – All systems are go!

After spending all of Saturday at the allotment in the glorious sunshine, I feel like year two at No.27 has officially started.

Year one, I focused on clearing and double digging just one side of the plot, mainly in order to only slightly overwhelm myself and not cause complete mental carnage. The left hand side stayed fully covered in weed membrane…until now!
If you are a new ‘allotmenteer’ I definitely recommend you start this way, it works wonders for many reasons. Plus when I told Monty Don this plan he agreed with me so there you go…priceless advice for free.

Both sides of the plot are now nearly ready to go, meaning double the space, double the produce and double the fun! Oh and double the watering….wahoo!!! Who needs the gym and dumbbell weights when you have a full size plot and two watering cans.

I feel like I haven’t shared a full shot of the plot in a long time, so….Welcome to No.27, my tranquil haven ready to be filled with sunshine, wildlife and scrummy yummy produce.

Other than the owner it is a very traditional plot, no raised beds as yet, just lots of beautiful worm filled soil and random wooden planks to define paths. I need to make proper paths but am currently lacking thoughts on the best idea and funds. I am thinking of replicating the main path, so borders made out of pallets and free woodchip for the paths. Love the idea of brick paving too. If you have any other suggestions comment below.

Back to the weekend; Saturday morning I spent digging, weeding and raking the beds, as well as spreading the final well rotted manure. The amount of couchgrass and nettle roots has certainly reduced compared to the underground mass of last year, there is actually more soil than weeds now. Bringing great joy and relief, as well as a dose of confidence that my plan is working and installing no-dig isn’t far away.

After a quick break for lunch with my feet up on a tree stump and ice cream in hand, it was back to work and on to the fun tasks.

First up was sowing some Papaver Ladybird seeds in a halved barrel under my bird table. If you read my Blenheim Flower Show blog last year, you will know I fell in love at first sight with these ladybird like poppies. They are just stunning, so I can’t wait to have my own grown from seed on the plot.

Next on the list; sowing Unwins ‘Bright & Spicy Mix’ radish seeds in to a couple of galvanised containers. I love the fact that you get a selection of five different varieties all in one packet; Amethyst, Scarlet Globe, Sparkler, White Turnip and Zlata. Radishes are so easy to grow and one of the first things many people try, purely I think because you can literally make a small drill in watered soil, sprinkle the seeds, cover them up and leave them to be ready for harvesting within in a matter of weeks. Perfect crop for successional sowing too, right through from Spring to late Summer.

Third activity was PEAS! I am very excited to grow peas and devour them fresh from their pods on the plot. So much so I am trying two varieties, one standard variety and another especially created for container growing. So if you are stuck on what variety is best for your lifestyle, look no further, one of these will be suitable.
The traditional variety are ‘Waverex’ a petit pois style pea from Groseeds, a heavy cropper which grows to a height of around 60cm, making it a perfect variety for growing in small or exposed gardens. Sown from Mid March to early June, you can harvesting by June to early August.
‘Tom Thumb’ are the alternative compact variety from Groseeds, a first early plant, producing a great crop of tasty full sized pods. Grown in containers, they are suitable for all lifestyles, including on balconies and in window boxes. A perfect choice for getting little ones involved at home or school, as well as young students and couples.

Lastly before darkness drew the evening to a close, I quickly potted up two more dahlia tubers; Taylors Bulbs ‘Babette’ and ‘Sylvia’ varieties. I have four in total potted up now and 1 more to go this week, the plot will be full of colour and bees for sure.

That was certainly enough done for one day, I was knackered and feeling the heat of the sunshine on my freckled cheeks. I finished up my cup of tea, packed away the tools and headed on home for an hour-long soak.

My first weekend to do as I please and oh what a glorious one it was. Thank you Mr Sunshine, you most certainly had your hat on. Next time I will pack mine too.

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