This morning, I went out to the plot with the intentions to plant and dig and weed and do those things which we as gardeners are meant to do, but I took one look at the plot and decided before I could reasonably do any of that, I needed to clean up my act. Amongst all my weeds and muck, raised beds and shed, there’s an awful lot of dirt, and I don’t mean muck (we all know there’s plenty of muck) I mean rubbish. Flyaway netting, torn remnants of weed control fabric, shards of bamboo, even old cloches, just rubbish. The allotment was never going to start looking nice if I didn’t deal with all that rubbish first, so I got into cleaning mode and began to tackle the messy parts of the garden.
You may remember I made a new years resolution to clean my shed. Well, I did it! Three months later but I finally did it, and boy was there a lot of mess in there. I threw out empty compost bags, plenty of torn netting, old bits of fleece, broken pots, empty water bottles, I found a pair of socks in there (seriously, no idea where they came from). My shed has been returned to it’s former glory, though it is in dire need of some prettying up. New mission: pretty up the shed.
I also decided to tackle the terribly wasted area outside the shed. Last year, most of my effort went in to my raised beds, installing fencing, getting the shed and of course getting to grips with growing my own food. Quite a lot of space on the plot went unused, particularly the area outside the shed, which is fairly big and has a lot of potential. I’d guess it’s about ten square metres of my plot which was just grass, rubble and weeds. So, I got out my shovel, and started to dig. It took me the best part of two hours but I turned over all the soil and raked it out to make it even, there had been a slope down toward the shed which was driving me mad. I sectioned off half of this area and began to work the soil and marked a layout for a small herb garden. The rest I covered with weed control fabric, I’m hoping to get either gravel or some paving stones to make a patio but I can’t decide which.
I decided I needed a break from manual labour and so, I sat on the edge of one of the beds and planted my parsnip seeds. I had manured the soil pretty well last year and covered it for winter and what a difference it made. The soil in the bed was soft and fine, a far cry from what it had been last year. I planted three short rows of “Gladiator” parsnips, a variety I had to grow after tasting some last year and falling in love.
The weather took a bad turn after a few hours so I decided to call it a day, not before I had a little look around the plot. There’s life beginning to creep in again, the cold days are getting very slightly warmer and there’s more light in the sky during the daytime hours. My artichokes are growing back after the winter as are my raspberry canes, which last August, I thought had died. There are buds on my blueberry and gooseberry canes, the garlic seems to have finally started growing and my onions are beginning to sprout.
Right now, the king of the plot is my rhubarb. I finally picked some today. It was defenitely the highlight of my gardening year so far.