Sunday, May 27, 2012

All from nothing... (Part 14)

Our efforts to transform an unused piece of land into a productive vegetable garden.

It appears that we've finally been blessed with some seasonal weather, and knowing Irish weather can turn rainy at the drop of a hat, we've done our best to get out to the allotment on the afternoons and get as much work completed as possible. 

The allotment is changing with the summer, and the beech hedge that runs along one side of it is now a riot of beautiful wine and ruby leaves.

To begin, we built a frame (using the decking wood I mentioned in my last post) for the potatoes to sit in. We had chosen to place the frame parallel with the fence of the allotment, just to the right of the gate. I dug the earth underneath the frame thoroughly - this was a job I had been dreading as it's right beside a huge shrub (that I blogged about some time ago, when I cut it back) and I was concerned that the ground might be full of roots. 

The dreaded roots...

Turns out I was right! As luck would have it, there was only one large one from the shrub, which I had to saw through. The rest of them - and there were many - were mostly nettle roots. 
After I had finished, Clare sowed the potatoes out.
(Left, our makeshift frame)

The next job on the list to get my teeth into was finally completing the forking of the soil on the left of the allotment. This took a couple of hours to do properly, as I was removing the three "R's" (roots, rocks and rubble) while also mixing compost through the soil. After finishing this, Clare layed out some new beds, and picked out whatever stones and roots I had missed. 

The utterly incredible weather continued today, so we packed up lunch for the kids and all headed down to the allotment. I finished up laying out the new beds, and Clare sowed beans (dwarf yellow and purple tepee) and peas into them (the peas were planted out). I then hammered hazel staves into each end of the beds, and ran garden twine between them. To avoid confusion, this gave us three separate structures that the peas and beans will climb up. 

 Our climbing frames.

To make sure growing conditions are are optimum, Clare tested the PH of the soil, and it appears to be PH neutral, which hopefully will be to our benefit.

This evening, I sowed out the asparagus, all of which thankfully are still alive! Fifteen plants in all, that will hopefully keep producing for the next twenty years. 

The veg in the allotment seem to be making the most of the clement weather we're currently enjoying. The radishes are flying up - I appreciate they're a quick growing plant, but this growth is great to see - visibly getting larger by the day! 

On a more serious note, when watering the vegetables this evening, I noticed one of the enemies of the allotment gardener on our celery plants - slugs! I was quite affronted by the sight of them, as I hadn't expected to see them until the allotment was more fully established. In any case, I examined each celery plant and got rid of all of them before going home. 

Our celery - which the slugs want to feast on. Constant vigilance needed!

So that's where we're at. Next week is all about forking (as usual). But this time, I'll be working the right side of the central path. Getting so close to being finished I can almost smell it. So much more vegetables to be grown, eaten and hopefully enjoyed!

The allotment as it looked this afternoon.

1 comment:

Niamh Hogan said...

Wow - what a transformation - some great work done!!! Keep it up!! Bet your neighbours that are lending your this area are amazed at your dedication and delighted with how its going.

Added a link to your blog from mine to return the favour!