We finally have our shed! It was kindly gifted to us. Now we have to decide on a colour… purple, or purple?
Unfortunately the orientation of the base slabs had to be changed due to the proportions of the shed, but this was a relatively quick job as the ground was already flat.
The base of the shed had been damaged over the years and some of the edges had rotted. We decided that it was best to treat the wood, as this hadn’t been done by the previous owner. I took some pallet wood and nailed it underneath to strengthen the rotten ends.
I was actually away visiting a friend at the weekend so I wasn’t there whilst the shed was being built. It took two days to move the panels and build the shed. The edging panels around the roof have also rotted, so those will be replaced. Apart from that the shed itself is in great condition, a good find! Hopefully we can paint the shed next week.
As frustrating as it has been, not planting up the right side was a blessing when moving the shed. We needed a place to rest the panels, which could have resulted in squashed crops if we had powered ahead! Now that the shed is up, we have been able to store our tools, move the spare pallets and just generally tidy the allotment. Fingers crossed we can finally finish the right side!
I have planted some pumpkins in the plot in front of the herb garden and hope to plant some seeds in the other plots. If all else fails we can at least get the ground ready for next year. Some more tomatoes and strawberries have been planted as well.
The first blackberries are starting to ripen! A little earlier than I expected but I hope for a long crop of them. I have also discovered that we have a little gooseberry bush! It has been hiding under the elder tree. There are just two lonely berries on it and unfortunately the base of the bush is behind the fence so it cannot be moved. There is a lot of new growth on it so hopefully I can take some cuttings from it.
We have kept the back of the left side somewhat wild looking. The plot in front will be a wild flower garden so they will work perfectly together. The elder and the brambles are somewhat intertwined with one another but I don’t mind that. The ivy does need to be removed but that has also become intertwined with the elder due to lack of care from previous tenants, so that may be a little more difficult to remove but I am always up for a challenge!
We have had the allotment for one month! I must say it has gone quickly. Most of our evenings after work and our weekends are spent here, we have already had several compliments about how good the allotment looks and that it hasn’t looked like it in years!
But unfortunately, this week has been a strange one. We had started work on the right side last week but have been unable to continue due to other jobs that have popped up and lack of storage space; frustrating but the reality of having an allotment.
As mentioned in my last post, two plots on the right side have been turned over, along with some of the side border. Once the compost bin is finished, the majority of the mess will be gone. We have collected 10-12 pallets for a variety of projects. Some will be used for our compost bin and some will be used for planters. I’m sure there will be plenty left over for our other projects. We managed to pick these up for free; we are trying to keep the allotment as low waste and cost as possible.
Tepees were erected for the beans to grow on. We would have put them on the right side of the allotment if it had been ready, but actually I quite like the symmetry. We won’t be able to plant them in this exact position next year as we hope to have trees here, but I would like to keep the beans somewhere along the path.
The weather has been so hot and dry the last week, which has also hindered us. A lot of the plants looked quite sad and droopy at first, but there are now signs of growth everywhere you look.
It is week three and we are powering ahead! The left side is now almost completely planted up. Plot one and two are potatoes, plot three is garlic, onion, celeriac and cos lettuce, plot four is a mixture of leafy greens and plot five is strawberries and rhubarb; but we still have a few strawberries to plant.
The paving slabs for the path and the base of the non-existent shed have also been laid, but I can’t take credit for that. It is relatively straight but does follow the contours of the plot in some places, no complaints here though. The ground at the back [under the shed slabs] is poor quality and was a nightmare to prepare for the slab laying, so the layout has worked well for us.
We have now started preparing the right side of the allotment. Plots 11 and 12 have now been turned over, they just need to be raked and marked off. We aren’t 100% sure what we will be planting as of yet, but I know beetroot and carrot will be planted in one of them, probably plot 12.
I have already begun planting in plot A and C, these will be planted with pollinator friendly flowers to encourage the bees. They will spread out over time but I hope to put some wildflowers in with them next year.
The herb garden is well under way. So far we have four thyme varieties, three mint varieties, regular and garlic chive, tarragon, sage, rosemary, parsley and a curry plant. There are a couple of others we would like but are yet to find.
We have so much thyme on our hands. Initially we only had two, but were given another variety, then I came across a variety I remembered from my childhood. I thought I was going mad until I found it at a garden centre as no one could remember this bush; the variety is Golden Thyme. It has a bushy texture with a wonderful citrus smell. It took me back in… thyme.
Believe it or not, we have only had the allotment two weeks but we are powering ahead. The rain certainly hasn’t stopped us. This weekend we concentrated on turning over the soil on the right side of the allotment.
Unfortunately, the patch of soil is a little lower quality in comparison to the left due to being overrun with various weeds. The ivy and bineweed have been quite a challenge for us. Some of the bineweed roots have been almost 3ft deep! A lot of the roots are stuck behind the fence and we are unable to reach them so I imagine that this is be a recurring problem.
You may have noticed that the monster artichoke has gone! We believe that the next door neighbour cut it down, but that’s okay. We weren’t really sure about keeping it and it was planted by him, so it has saved us a job. There was a rhubarb plant hiding under the artichoke and unfortunately did get stood on when it was cut down. We had to move it earlier than we had planned, but we didn’t have much choice due to the damage that had happened to it. Usually, you would move rhubarb in early spring or autumn. We have decided to turn plot six into a fruit plot, the rhubarb will sit with wild strawberries.
After turning the top right patch of soil over several times, we have finally started planting the herb garden. Even still the roots just kept on popping up! We have sage, parsley, thyme, rosemary, mint, peppermint and tarragon so far.
After planting the herb garden, we started laying out the position for the potatoes. Using a dibber and a trusty old set of sticks and string did the trick. Potatoes need to be planted about 3 inches/8cm deep.
It is great to see how it is all coming together in such a short space of time. We have started to position the path, although the ground will need to be levelled before we fix it in place.
We have changed the layout of the allotment slightly. We decided to put hardy shrubs at the front of the allotment, such as lavender, as they will be better suited to the quality of soil there. The trees have been moved back into the second plot by the path. The soil is much better here and also we realised that trees would obviously outgrow the original plot we had planned for them.
So as somewhat expected I am a little late with the allotment update, but it certainly looks a lot different to how it did last week! The rain has hindered us somewhat, but we have still managed to plough on.
On Saturday we concentrated on removing the patch of weeds on the right side of the allotment. We didn’t realise that the majority of these weeds were so deep rooted. We really didn’t want to use weed killer on our plot unless absolutely unavoidable. With two people on the job it took around three to four hours to complete. Luckily we managed to do it before the rain came… again.
On Sunday we set about turning the left side of the allotment so it can be planted. We are a little late in the season but there are still quite a few things we can grow. Potatoes, beans, tomatoes, cabbage, beetroot and kale are just a few of the things that will be planted over the coming weeks.
The plot is 35ft 6 x 34ft. The land has been divided up in what we feel is the best way for our needs. The plots will be 3ft x 12ft, separated by 2ft grass boarders. There will also be a larger plot at the back for flowers and herbs.
Here is a more detailed plan of the allotment. It shouldn’t change too much from this; the only thing that is most likely to vary is the size of the shed and the free space around it.
The allotment has it’s own Instagram page as well! A lot of the pictures on there will not be posted to my blog for the sake of repeating myself. If you are interested please go to Ofett Geard.