It’s amazing how many people give you things they’re getting rid of when they hear you have an allotment. Since my last update we’ve acquired a haul of items, some as gifts and some in exchange for good deeds. L gave us some onions and potatoes in return for sharing the Jerusalem artichokes, and we’ve also been gifted willow for weaving, a greenhouse, and a van load of wood.
The wood came as a result of responding to an advert on Freecycle from Chiltern Wood Recycling. They were offering pallets and we’ve the long term ambition of building a pallet shed so, on the off chance that they still had some available, I dropped them an email. We’re outside of their delivery radius but Adam, the guy who responded, kindly said they’d deliver to us anyway. And they did. They came to our home as it’s an easier site to access than the allotment.
When Adam said he had a van load of pallets and wood, what he meant was that he had a *very big van* load of pallets and wood. And we’re very grateful, especially grateful that our marina manager was on holiday at the time so wasn’t able to see how much of the car park we took up with the delivery. Not all the pallets are suitable for construction so Rob has been cutting those up for firewood, and the rest we’ve been squirreling away to the plot.
The photo on the left also shows the marina willow that has recently had a haircut. In the spirit of not wanting to waste anything I took the cuttings on my bike to the allotment.
Using ash for stakes I weaved the willow into a border for the Russian comfrey and had enough of the smaller stems left over to weave edging for our newly created wild garlic patch. I bought the garlic from a Devonshire grower on ebay.
I used the larger willow branches to edge the new onion and Jerusalem artichoke bed.
Rob also utilised the willow to create the arches for the onion cage. The onions are Stuttgarter Giants from L. Hopefully they’ll do ok in our lumpy beds. I’ve been bashing the clay clumps with a hammer to break them down, but we really should invest in a rake and some decent soil.
We used wood from the Chiltern haul to make the edging for the potato bed and the as-yet-unplanted-beetroot-and-chard bed. Rob would like it made clear that the only straight and level edge (on the potato bed) was the bit he constructed. The rest is my handywork and will hereby be referred to only as “rustic” and “quaint”. I bled on that wood when I attempted to saw off my finger, and I have a very impressive bruised knuckle from hammering my hand instead of the ash pegs. There’s a price to pay for rustic and quaint.
Whilst making the as-yet-unplanted-beetroot-and-chard bed I decided to use the no dig method of layering cardboard before filling the bed with soil and compost.
I’m not going to sow any seeds here until I tackle the rabbit issue. We thought our gate had rabbit proofed the plot so I was a little surprised to find three bunnies scooting around when I arrived the other day. Watching their escape route revealed that our fencing is in need of some attention so my next job will be to secure the perimeter.
Whilst I was busy shoo-ing rabbits and working on the beds, Rob has been planting the potatoes L gave us in old malt bags from the local brewery. He stacked some of the small pallets from the Freecycle haul around them for support (and because he likes the look of pallet towers).
L says the potatoes are Anju, a type of Charlotte, but Google doesn’t believe they exist. Could they be Anyas?
Rob was given an old greenhouse from a friend. It looked like this when he went to collect it:
It looks like this now:
With bits of greenhouse and pallets all over the place the plot is looking a little untidy at the moment. Rob fixed the wood burning plaque of the Uffington White Horse I made to our gate, so at least the gate is looking pretty. Perhaps it will distract from the mess.
And in other news, there’s still no sign of the manure, and the soil that did arrive the other week was full of the remnants of plastic flowers. We thought it a little strange at the time.
Turns out it’s cemetery soil. Oh, how we laughed, except for L who is a little concerned that she’ll find bones…