Since we have only had our plot since March last year we are still trying to find our feet. Our philosophy in 2017 was ‘try it and see’, and this best sums up every decision we made, every plant planted, and every structure built. 2017 was about getting to know the plot (clayey, compacted and boggy), and learning about what refuses to grow in such conditions (most of what I planted). We rushed to get beds dug and vegetables growing and never really stopped to consider plans or practicalities. This year we aim to slow down and put some ground work in, to plant according to our conditions and our needs. There are some fundamental works that need doing, and the rest we hope to get around to this year, but will happily settle on next year if we run out of time.
So, for 2018 we hope:
- To finish the shed: window covers, painting the walls, laying the floor, and building shelves/benches.
- Rabbit proof fencing: this is a high priority job. My ad hoc fencing last year has not kept the rabbits out so we intend to tackle the job properly this time around – and it needs to be done before planting can commence.
- Sort the greenhouse: we cannot afford to glaze it so will look into alternative ideas to get it up and running and ready for Rob to grow tomatoes and chillies.
- Build an asparagus bed: we feel it is important to get this constructed and planted this year as it will take some time for the plants to establish.
- Build raised beds and tackle soil condition: we never realised just how boggy our plot was. It is the lowest lying of all the occupied plots on site. We only have one direct neighbour as conditions are so bad all the other plots around us have been abandoned. This will be a long haul job!
- Plant vegetables and flowers that are suitable for the conditions. Last year all my hollyhocks rotted, but nasturtiums and calendula did extremely well. We also planted swede and parsnips and whilst we managed a meagre harvest, the plants were not at all happy in the thick, claggy soil. This year I intend to attempt to grow a greater variety of squashes and other thirsty plants as we have the moisture levels to sustain them.
- Build a wildlife pond in the remains of the sinkhole. It would be nice to offer our resident toads better accommodation than the scratty bit of carpet they currently reside beneath. We would also like to make the entire plot wildlife friendly (rabbit exclusions apply) so will continue to look into companion planting, and pollinator friendly flowers as well as hanging nesting boxes for birds and insects.
We do not know what 2018 will bring so, most importantly, we want it to be about enjoying our time on the plot, to continue learning about its needs, and to furnish it with the love and attention it needs. I think, in the process, we might also learn a little about ourselves along the way.
[The green man in the featured image was bought from Brighthelm-Stone ]