Digging days are here again

I finally made a start on the allotment today. The weather has been glorious, clear blue skies and sunshine. It’s so tempting to think that this is the start of spring, but I’m all too aware that we could still be in for arctic winds and snow up until April. But it’s nice to take advantage of these sunny days to get started on clearing the plot, and digging over the soil now that it’s dried out a bit. I just have to remember not to get too carried away, as my back has forgotten all about this digging lark!

I have pulled out what remained of the peas and bean plants and dug those beds over. I also pulled out last years row of calendulas (pictured above) which have scattered their seeds prolifically and already started to germinate here and there. I’ve decided that this will have to be a permanent calendula/marigold row. I can’t pick the seeds out as there are hundreds of them, and they’ll keep on germinating all through the summer (as they did last year) causing a weeding nightmare for anything else I try and grow there. But they’re bright and cheerful, good for attracting bees and butterflies, and I definitely want them on the plot, so why attempt to grow them somewhere else when they’ll happily do the job themselves in this patch. I can easily weed out any stray ones from the path and surrounding beds.

I have also cut back the stems of the autumn fruiting raspberries. I would show you some evidence of this, but my camera battery went dead as soon as I switched it on. Typical.

I can at least show you my potatoes a-chitting:

These are my earlies – Casablanca. I was planning on growing just 3 varieties, those above along with Kestrel second earlies and Valor maincrop. But I decided I only had enough Casablancas for 1 row, which isn’t much, so I’ve also bought some Ratte (a nutty, French variety) and I couldn’t resist buying a few Edzell Blue (a deep purple skinned variety) which I’ve always fancied trying out. It’s good to try out different varieties each year to see what works and what doesn’t with your soil and environment.

Still got a lot to do :-

– get a fire going in the brazier (incinerator) and burn the dry stems of the peas, beans, calendulas, raspberries and chrysanthemums (and any other dry debris)
– dig and fill a compost trench for the beans and sweet peas.
– put manure around the base of the raspberries, fruit bushes and chrysanthemums
– dig the green manure in at the bottom end
– dig over the rest of the beds adding compost from the bottom of the bins (which may need turning)
– weed and feed the over wintering onions and garlic
– mow the grass and trim the edges of the path
– transplant the strawberry and flower beds (more on that later)
– sow seeds and place in the heated propagator

Phew. Here’s hoping for a few more sunny days. And breaks in my work schedule!

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