Easter Sunday on the plot

Person Author: Gavin Conway Calender April 2, 2013 Posted No Tags Comment No Comments

I had a great Easter Sunday at the plot … It was the first time for quite a while that I could spend the a day there due to the incumbent weather we’ve been having. So I woke up early…. ‘ish… and made a packed lunch of sarnies and some cans of diet coke, packed all my bits I’ve been collecting and headed off. All the snow has gone but some parts of the plot are still frozen and generally still too cold to plant anything. I have broad beans, onion sets, shallots, peas and potato onions all in modules waiting to go in. I reckon we are nearly a month behind now.

Fairly cold to start off with but the sun came out and it was a lovely day. I tidied the shed and emptied all the bags of manure I had placed waiting to be dug in. We get free horse manure mixed with shavings delivered in black bags and dumped inside the entrance gate for all to use.

I watered the very dry looking fruit bushes in the greenhouse that I’m growing from cuttings, unpacked all the bits from the car – cardboard for weed protection of some sweetcorn and tomatoes this year, timbers for staking my tomatoes and putting my pea support strings on and various tools and goodies. Also a few bags of nitrate rich bunny poo and bedding that I collect on a monthly basis from one of my business customers. This I will add to the soil where my sweetcorn will grow as they love nitrate.

I have been waiting for hedge clippings from the home garden and 5 wheelie bin loads of bad weeds and roots (bind weed, couch grass, mares tail etc) to dry off in a big pile and on inspection they looked fine to finally burn. I gave them one final turning with the fork and placed them all on top of a few pallets and scrap planks I had collected. Poured a can of diesel/petrol mix (an ooops from a local garage – petrol into a diesel car) and lit my bonfire. (Beware if there is too much petrol in the mix)!!

It took a few hours to burn down and once it had almost finished I scraped up the smoldering logs etc. and put them into the incinerator, along with all the unburned roots and scraps around the fire site. This then keeps itself burning till it is all done. Next time I go to the plot I’ll scrape up all the ashes into a wheel barrow, use a magnet to remove all the nails from the pallets and then spread it on an area that “Potash” loving plants will be planted.

During all the burning I was digging the plot over to incorporate the horse manure mixed with shavings. I’m told it’s not a a good idea because the shavings borrow the nitrogen from the ground to break down… but I do it and add fertilizer and chicken pellets before planting. I’ve done it for years on my roof -top garden and garden shares and my results show that it works. I think it’s a bit of a myth but I may be wrong!!

Last year was my first year on my allotment and grew loads of different veg etc. I prepared the ground by double digging down to a depth of 18″ or so and added about 4″ of manure / shavings mix. So this year I’m only needing to dig one spade depth – sooooo much quicker and easier. I got a normal digging spade with a broken handle and fitted a long series handle which makes it so much easier to dig with. Very pleased with the result.

I managed to dig and turn over about 9 x 5 mt in total in a few hours and removed as many bad roots again that I could see. These were either thrown onto the fire or added to the incinerator drum. My plan is to let the newly dug sods dry a bit, add some fertilizer and pellets then get the rotavator onto it before planting. We have a couple of machines on the site that we just supply fuel and have free usage.


My modified long handled digging spade…   bedraggled strawbs ……  garlic …  look at that “free potash”

Strawberries are looking very bedraggled but I know they will bounce back once it warms up – just need to give them a hair cut next visit.  My garlic is looking good despite the strange winter and its growing fairly well. I sprinkled some Blood Fish Bone on it as the wet season would have leached some of the goodness out of the soil by now. I have a few varieties of normal garlic and some Elephant type in this year.

I handed out some free seed packs (giant pumpkin and giant sunflower seed)  that were kindly donated by Lajos from the seed shop on the forum for our Junior show section.

Went home to sow all my Cucurbita seeds and my prick out some tomatoes …. and Ooops…. whilst moving the tomatoes in the seed tray frame they dropped out and toppled over… I only managed to identify 4 out of 11 modules where the toms and labels were still together..


Soooooo I have to re-sow 7 varieties again!! All the plants that fell out of the modules I’ll give to a few new people on the site that wont mind what type they are etc. I’m just a nerd and need to know what it what!!




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