No Bonfire But Got Burnt Anyway!

25 April 2011 | Posted in Gardening by The Marshalls Family

Pauls PatchWhat a gorgeous weekend! Having had a bit of rain earlier in the week but nothing since, I was keen to get to the allotment early to give everything a good water. I was a bit worried about my Calabrese Marathon plants but needn't have been as they were looking fine. 

David was on the next plot putting in some very early courgette plants, he said that the seed was 7 years old and was amazed that they germinated! He advised me to protect my Calabrese plants from pigeon attack and advocates' hanging up old CD's and DVD's to scare them. This is a task for next week I think. However, I did fine some old cut-up, clear plastic bottles in the shed so used those to cover them up in the meanwhile.

I've been keen to get my hands on new Bio-Gro Black Gold - a seaweed based, soluble fertilizer. We had some samples in last week so I snapped up a tub. As an experiment, I added about a third of a tub to one of my full water butts and mixed it in. I was inspired by a piece in Joy Larkcoms ‘Grow Your Own Vegetables' in the section on composting. She talks about making a Black Jack tub, however rather than adding in a sack full of horse manure and lawn clippings, I tipped in a load of Black Gold instead!

I then watered everything with this concoction; it was a lot easier than having to keep mixing up watering cans full of the stuff.

The big task of the weekend was to try and clear some of the rubbish and old bits of wood and metal that had been left by the previous tenants. As part of this process, I have decided to remove the old, overgrown compost heap and start again. The heap is riddled with bindweed and covered with grass and other perennial weeds, the pallets that make up the back and sides are rotten and falling apart.

Having spent an hour or so digging out the earth and weeds and dumping it, I decided that it was such a shame to waste all that really good soil. So from then on, I carefully removed all the bits of root and transferred the soil to a bare patch of bed and then spent a far amount of time raking this soil about and removing any small bits I'd missed earlier. It was very gratifying to use this ‘reclaimed' compost to earth-up around my garlic which had been planted a bit too close to the surface.

Pauls Patch

By the end of the weekend, I'd built a bonfire and had created large pile of wood ready to add to the fire as it burned (little and often rather than create an inferno!). Despite the clear blue skies and the wind blowing in the right direction, I decided that discretion was the better part of valor and held off lighting the fire. Our allotment is very near to some houses and everyone had their washing out!

Even though I didn't light the fire, being out in the sun all weekend meant I did get just a little burnt...!

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