Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Honkjazz - The Allotment Part 18

Its so crazy (so crazy) to see this as the first proper post of the year. 2009 is already seven weeks old and we've done nothing? Nothing?!?!?! Well almost. It may sund like a convenient excuse but the weather here has been pretty raw of late. Now I know that some of you may live in more hearty climes (my sister will always scoff when we mention temperature as she lives in Canada and they've recently experienced -30 conditiions - flippin 'ell Tucker!!!) but if its raining then its raining and as the old boys here say "if it sticks to yer boots, go home" so thats the maxim we've sat on the sofa to.
But on the plus side we've managed to get a shed for free (more on that later) and we've planned the next season out and we've ordered the seeds as well. So its not all been wasted time.
And this weekend just gone saw the first solid sunshine for ages. The first run of three days without rain in months. And the first weekend without plans.
Herbert couldn't make it as he had some wedding rubbish to attend to (priorities man, priorities!!!) so Snip and I trundled down to the plot for mid-day, haversack brimming with sandwiches (cheese and auntie's homemade picalilly), flasks of tea, ready rolled cigarettes and the radio for the football.
And we were faced with such a multitude of tasks to complete, finding a starting point was quite tricky. Herbert had already told me that the seeds had been delivered so we wanted to try and clear some space for him to get planting in the following week. The first job we did was to combine the onions which had been planted in one and a half beds together to save space. In the main bed there were a few onions which hadn't taken so Snip sorted them out and weeded the bed whilst I carefully dug up the few onions that had shown any promise in the second bed which she then planted all together.
The free bed was then prepared for the oncoming early potatoes with a good weeding, turning over, breaking up and adding of well rotted pig manure. A good start.
The same thing had to be done with the broad beans (they had also been planted over one and a half beds) so Snip got stuck into that and I prepared another spare plot for the potatoes. Snip then started to weed and de-stone another spare plot so I turned my attention to the new shed.
Up until now all of our tools had been hidden under an old piece of carpet. They had only cost a couple of pounds each from the recycling centre so it wasn't a big deal but getting the shed was a great start just to store our stuff inside. I emptied everything out of the shed and started repacking it in a sensible order (leaving space for the beers, tea-making facilities and newspapers). There was a lot of stuff that had been kept in big buckets that had become waterlogged when the buckets filled up with rain so this was all emptied out and sorted through and anything valuable to us left out in the sun. While the shed was empty I took the opportunity to nail a cross-beam on the wall and the put screws into that so all of the hand-tools can be hung up (which is ace and was fun if not a little bit will-the-shed-fall-down-if-I-hit-it-with-the-hammer-again).
While I was in the spring-cleaning mood I decided to turn my attention to the composting area (opposite the shed). I'd been wanting to move the compost bin for ages so I cleared out the space which had held the manure supply and managed to work the home-made bin over the top of the compost heap and into the corner. This also gave me the chance to put the compost back in reverse therefore giving it a good mix-up in the process. All of the pots and bits of junk that had accumulated around the bin were sorted out and everything was starting to look nice and tidy. Sandwiches and tea were served and appart from having to listen to Liverpool FC on the radio it really was a beautiful day.
After lunch we decided to finish the shed renovations so we cracked open the creosote and started painting the shed in the noxious but beautifully scented brown stuff. After this we de-stoned, weeded and dug over the old runner bean bed which will be used for carrots. Snip also cleared the stones, weeds and dead foliage from the brocolli bed and just as the light was fading I marked out a new plot which will beused for cauliflowers.

So all in all it was an amazing day of progress, spring cleaning, DIY, pre-planting prep' work and football on theradio. The plot looks brilliant and theres a definite sense of clarity about everything now. And as soon as I find my lead I'll get some photographs up for you to see :D


Jute said...

I dug over the beds and repaired the raised ones yesterday. The soil in the one for potatoes is SO heavy - I've got to add some sand and compost. Broad beans went in, onions and asparagus weeded and I cleaned up the purple sprouting broccoli and built a new cover for it to keep the pigeons off. You can smell spring in the air. It's a sign of things to come.

Herbert Westchester & Brazil Banks said...

Excellent work! We MUST MUST MUST construct a broccoli hat/cover. Ours is getting killed out there :(