Parsnips, carrots,a lot of seeds – and compost

It shows just how much we have done on the allotment with the soil, lots of organic matter layered on top for only three years has given us something really good to plant into. Compared to the newly dug beds in the garden, clay-like top soil under a lawn until just the other week. It is hard to get it as fine as I would really want. When we started the allotment I was using shop bought compost to fill holes and then putting seed in that, if only I wasn’t running short on that then I would do the same again. There are only 107506 people ahead of me in the queue for the B&Q website, give it an hour or two and I will get to the front.

This week I have direct sowed a line of parsnips with radish in-between. Last year I started parsnips off in toilet roll tubes which had mixed but not bad results. I’ve done some like this again too and have them under cover.

Seeds I sowed last weekend indoors are starting to come up. Radish took what seemed like just minutes to germinate, along with the tray of peas. In the morning you notice the signs of a new row of seedlings and by the evening they all seem very well established.

Further seeds sowed, this time for outside but undercover included:

  • more beetroot (boldtary as I know it is something I can trust)
  • red cabbage
  • broccoli
  • purple sprouting broccoli
  • dwarf french beans
  • butternut squash

Tomatoes planted outside undercover are starting to show, along with ones I planted indoors the other day – I maybe have rather too many tomato seedlings growing.

As we are not visiting the allotment at the moment it means we no longer have anywhere apart from the bin to put our vegetable scraps from the kitchen. Our bin gets emptied every two week and suddenly we are filling it rather quickly. We do have our wormery but there is only so much a small collection of worms can munch through. Add to this that I would rather make use of our waste.

We have had small bits of pallet offcuts sitting outside the front of the house for a couple of years, ever since I made the wooden boards for pathways when we first got the plot. With Tom’s help, we used all this waste wood to make a rather small, but tall, compost bin.

You find it is times like this (lock down in a world wide pandemic situation) that suddenly you find the endless collection of nails and screws that exist in the shed and always have done, is starting to run low. With no options for buying any more, we managed to find

The new bin fits rather nicely in our new “compost zone” in the corner of the garden under a tree.It looked so good we even moved the worms to sit next to it. We were both pretty happy with the results and it’s just the sort of thing we need at the plot (and I had planned to sort out) instead of the massive big one.

Still on the subject of compost, I got onto the B&Q website (and their online queuing system worked really well) and bought four bags of compost which suggested it would be ready to pick up the next day. I had mostly forgotten about it when just before 5 ‘o clock I got a call to say my items were ready for collection straight away. By this time I had assumed it would be some time later on in the week. I ventured out to the store, the furthest I have been for a month (all 2 miles) and joined the other four cars in the deserted car park of the store for my turn. I shouted my name when asked and the bloke returned with my purchases before backing off to a safe distance as I got out to load the bags into the car. All very efficient if not a bit strange, I didn’t come close to being two metres to anyone. I drove home thinking it felt like a Sunday used to be like, not a Saturday afternoon…

I couldn’t see carrots growing that well in the hard clay soil that makes up the beds and so the compost is all good news. I dug a small channel to fill with compost, sowed carrot seed and then covered over. I transplanted radish plants that has been growing undercover and I tidied up the onions to give them a chance.

I have a lot of grass clipping from mowing the lawn last weekend and so started to use this as a mulch for the potatoes. I also put down a lot of netting to stop cats.

Nearing the end of the day I tidied bits up, the main thing that distinguishes this as a garden and not an allotment. An allotment is functional and there is little room for prettiness when it gets in the way, whereas a garden needs to look pretty but be able to be functional. I’m spending more time looking after the garden now so actually it is starting to look a lot better and tidier than it has done, plus it will hopefully be practical and produce stuff at some point too. Certainly it is nice going out in the garden first thing to just ‘do things’.


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