Raised Beds, Wigwams and Ducks

The beautiful weather continues here in Dublin, and we continue to work in the allotment as much as we can while it lasts. I never thought I’d see the day when I’d be hoping for rain, but I am. We need it, my clay soil is baked and the water on site has not been turned on, thankfully there has been water provided in tanks and the supply is being switched on tomorrow morning. I am enjoying the sunshine immensely though, I even have a bit of a tan!

The allotment is really taking shape this week after much hard work. I finally dismantled the wigwam-for-no-reason, dug some manure into the circular bed and planted my 3 rhubarb plants.

Yummy Rhubarb!

I enlisted some help on Monday in the form of my friend Mark who’s an archaeologist, I knew he’d be a dab hand at digging. We brought a bit of lunch and spent a good six hours on the plot. I bought 18 scaffolding planks for my raised beds, they sell these on site in the allotment shop at a great price so I didn’t have to worry about transporting them or getting them delivered which was brilliant. Myself and Mark did a good bit of digging, he’s very nifty with a rake and had a lot of my uneven soil levelled out very quickly, it was sorely needed as my plot was quickly taking on a mini-mountainous terrain.

Gooseberry bush on my Dad’s plot

I took a break from gardening yesterday but I did visit my Dad’s plot in St Annes Park in Raheny yesterday evening. It was such a beautiful evening, the sun was setting in the walled garden and the allotment garden looked gorgeous. My dad’s plot is  in a well established park and there’s a huge amount of wildlife in the area and it was great to hear the cacophany of birdsong there yesterday evening. The allotments have been there two years are it’s great to see how they’ve changed since they opened. There’s some really lovely plots there and I got some great ideas for my own plot while looking around.

Our snazzy gate

Today, I was on plot P26 for a few hours again. I made a gate using some old trellis donated from my parents back garden. I simply hammered the trellis onto two wooden stakes and the gate was done. It’s a little narrow to fit perfectly between my gate posts so we’ll have to add another piece of wood to it. I realised I forgot to bring hinges though so we’ll just have to hang it next time we get down. I’m thinking I might paint it, give it a bit of personality. I’ve been admiring many of the other plots on site and am amazed at the creativity I’ve seen, especially when it comes to things like gates and fencing.

I fixed my disastrous onion netting today by making a sturdier bamboo cage around it (I stole the idea from my dad’s plot), it looks much better now and hopefully the birds will really have a hard time getting to my onion sets. I put some weed protection fabric down on some of my paths so I could see where I’m going, hopefully this will prevent me from walking on my beds as I’ve inadvertently done this a few times.

Improved onion netting

I errected two bamboo wigwams. I planted some peas and will plant more in about three weeks, that way I should have a longer supply of peas during the summer instead of them all cropping at once.

I also planted some Coriander seeds. Coriander also benefits from successional sowings so I will plant more in a few weeks. I planted a variety called “Leisure” which is an excellent variety for leaf production. If you want to grow it yourself, try to avoid buying plain coriander seeds as they are far more likely to bolt.

This weekend we will have the “fun” job of filling the raised beds with topsoil. It will most likely take about 60 wheelbarrow loads so it will probably take us all weekend. The temperature is due to return to normal March levels at the weekend so at least we won’t be sweating in the sun while carting loads of soil back and forth.

We’ve met quite a few of our neighbours over the past couple of weeks and it’s lovely to chat and get advice from other plot holders, it’s already a lovely little community. I spotted some seedlings poking their head up in my Jersualem artichoke bed today, I couldn’t figure out if they were weeds or artichokes so I’ll be watching their progress to find out. I also spotted a couple of ducks hanging out near our plot, they must have flown up from the estuary.

Quack!

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