New bed and advice for newbies

circle bed before1

As documented in my arty-farty journal (see last post), John and I have been doing a touch of re-landscaping at the top end of the plot.

This is how the circular flower bed at the top end of my plot used to look. There is a circle there somewhere! It was never really planned to be honest. I was offered a free roll of wooden bed edging, which I couldn’t say no to, and found it too difficult to straighten it out to edge a square bed, so decided to be a maverick and go circular, much to the amusement of many on our site. For a while I attempted to grow a lovely starburst pattern of lettuce and salad crops, but before long it became overgrown with wild poppies that had flown in from somewhere, and so it turned into a wildflower bed for the bees.

It’s been an ever-evolving, go-with-the-flow, hippy sort of bed. Changing its image with the direction of the wind, going with whatever happens to fall into it. I put a few Cerinthe Major (honeywort) seeds in one year and they managed to grow and establish a small patch for themselves in among the dandelions and couch grass. Then they self-seeded into a purple explosion the following year. I’ve attempted to weed out the worst of the weeds over the years, and gain some semblance of order, but to little avail. The grass around the edge became very difficult to mow (hence the image above) and then I discovered that the wooden edging had started to rot.

Here it was towards the end of last summer after chopping down the weeds and flowers, taken from the opposite direction.

circle bed before2

We decided it had to go. Even on a full sized plot, space starts to become a premium, and this sort of landscaping is just a little too wasteful of that precious space.

new bed

So it has been cleared and dug over, and after much debate over what to put in here I think I’ve decided to use it for the new potatoes. The ground is still a bit rough and uncultivated, so it would take a lot of work to prepare for anything that might fork (carrots, parsnips) or to get down to a fine tilth for little seeds, but potatoes are perfect for rough ground. Because it’s a square bed, rather than the usual trench method, I might try planting them in a grid by dibbing a whole and popping the potatoes in. Monty Don did this in a raised bed trial last year (no, just checked it was 2013, time flies) and had pretty good results (video link here to the results, can’t find the method video).

So we’ll see how that turns out, got to try these things out. I’ll still be growing lots of flowers for cutting and more bee friendly flowers will go into the gaps in the herb bed, so the bees won’t miss out. A new rosemary and lavender have already gone in, along with some wallflowers that are surplus from my mum. The L shaped raised beds also came out, as they’d rotted at the base too, and that has become a new cutting patch.

Isn’t it daft how excited you can be over a new freshly dug bed!

Finally, I have done a bit of blog relandscaping too, and taken out the recipes page (you can check out recipes on my other blog now – fromplottoplate.wordpress.com) and replaced it with a page of ‘do’s and don’ts’ to new, and maybe not so new, allotment holders. I don’t go much in for ‘how to’ guides on this blog as there are so many other blogs, websites, books, TV programmes, videos etc, to tell you everything you need to know, but I have noticed a few new followers who are new to the allotment fun and games, and thought maybe I could offer some advice from experience that you won’t find in any gardening book. Stuff I wish someone had told me when I started.

To any seasoned allotment gardeners out there, please feel free to add your own in the comments section. I might find them helpful!

 

4 comments

  1. I’m envious of the nice looking soil you have there, so ready to be tilled. Will be perfect for potatoes, as you say. We have nothing but unforgiving red clay here in North Carolina. Sigh. Lucky lucky you!

    Like

    • Thanks GreenEggs. Yes we are lucky that we grow on fenland soil here which is very dark and rich. Though it’s still full of couch / twitch / vetch grass which is horrible. I forgot to post the picture of the trug full of root we pulled out.

      Liked by 1 person

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