Categories: Growing Food, Transition
Written By: Leanne Cordingley
So here starts a new year in a new house with lots of exciting things going on!
A week after we moved in, the boxes were barely unpacked and it was time to start work on the allotment:
We were given a grassy patch of land at the bottom of the field, previously unused it meant we’d be starting from scratch. We pegged it all out with sticks and string and set to work taking off the top inch or so of soil. The area is a bit of an odd shape that somehow lent itself to being formed to read ’211′:
In total it gives us somewhere near to 20 square meters of growing space plus we’ve been given another big bed which we will start work on soon as well as space in the poly tunnel! A very good start!
The layout may look bizarre but much thought went into the design… well at least 5 minutes of thought. The fence to the adjoining field runs diagonally along the left side meaning we had this oddly shaped piece of land to work with and so couldn’t do standard straight lines of beds.
We made the two long strips narrow enough so we can reach the middle from either side and so won’t need to stand on the soil when weeding. They are divided by one path, just wide enough to kneel on for weeding, and another path dividing them from the “2″ is wide enough to fit a wheel barrow down.
We created the 2 thinking it would give us the most bed space while still having easy reach for weeding (and not trampling the soil) all the way to the middle of the bed via the two short paths that jut in. Very clever hey?
The turf squares we removed have all been stacked (grass to grass, soil to soil) in a tower and covered. In a year or so all the grass and weeds will have disappeared and we will be left with lovely new top soil to put back on… hopefully!
We plan on putting planks around all the edges and building up the soil over time to make raised beds, I’ve always found them easier to work, plus they look good, which I think is also important. It is much more pleasant to work in a good looking orderly place. I think it makes the work more enjoyable and therefore you are more likely to keep up with it and not get overwhelmed by the task of weeding a huge sprawling weedy mess.
We put rotted down grass clippings on the beds, covered them with card board, then covered the whole thing with carpet, weighed down with logs to keep the soil warm. Lucky we did, as the next day the temperature dropped suddenly, all the ground froze and it would have been impossible to do anything.
It was pretty amazing really. With the protection of the mulch and carpets the soil underneath stayed fine while all around the ground was frozen solid.
Now all we can do is wait for it to warm up a bit before we can get on with the exciting task of starting to grow our own food. I can’t wait!
Any tips for good things to grow would be great, especially things that grow well in the cold wet climate of mid-Wales!