Saturday, 14 May 2011

Getting grubby - allotment update ... ...

It's been nearly a month (give or take) since we accepted the allotment plot we've been working on, and we seem to be making good progress.

This is what it looked like before we started work on it -

It's changed quite a bit now.
I'm not going to say it's been easy, because it hasn't, most of the plot has now been dug over to remove the roots of the various weeds, which has to be said were mostly docks and brambles, in some parts it was very hard going, the dry weather hasn't helped as the ground is quite hard.

We've all been working on it, the kids have enjoyed finding new bugs (stuff we don't get in our garden) and my son has increased his cocoon collection quite a lot, he now has quite a few different things in a jar, which he checks everyday to see if anything has emerged, it's also proved useful in that because we didn't recognise some of the bugs we've had to look them up, and now we have an idea of what sort of pests we might encounter, apart from the usual slugs and snails.

Not the best picture, but we've found lots of these -

They are about 4/5cm long
As it turns out these little grubs are the larvae of the Ghost Moth (opens in new window) least that's what we think, either way they probably mean trouble for various plants, but on the plus side they seem to have been feeding on the roots of the docks (bonus)

We've found loads of other mini beasts, from ants to beetles and centipedes and also quite a lot of millipedes, digging for the bugs has kept the kids happy for ages.

There's still a bit to do, we haven't as yet started on the very end section of the plot, mainly because of the raspberry plants, they are now in flower and we figured we'd get some berries from them so best to leave them for now, once they've fruited we can dig them up and arrange them in a more orderly fashion, it'll also give us a chance to work out how many there are.

Because we've managed to clear a fair bit of ground, we've also started to plant some veggies, so far we have spuds (with more to go in soon) corn, onions, radish, lettuce, turnips, some squashes (pumpkin etc) and a couple of rows of broad beans, with more stuff in the greenhouse almost ready to be planted out.

So all in all we've progressed faster than we originally though, there's a small patch of ground to be dug over near the newly installed gate (did that today) but that's only an hour or two's work.

Here's what the plot looks like as of today (ours is the left half) -

Not the best fencing job, but does the trick.
Nice new gate and fencing (all be it a little dodgy) all made from re-cycled wood, the gate I made from a couple of saw horses I made when I built our new work station, the fencing was part of our old pond cover, same for the wire mesh.

I've put the gate in the middle because we only have half the plot, and putting a fence and gate here was the cheapest option, other wise it would mean two gates (one into each half) and some kind of fencing down the middle, it seemed a little strange to go to the extra expense when a simple fence and gate would do the job, which is mainly to keep the bunnies out, although it may need to be a bit higher, I also buried the wire mesh about a foot under the fencing to help prevent bunnies digging in :-) all that's left to do is to put some kind of divider down the middle of the plot, some small stakes and wire maybe, not sure yet.

And that's as far as we've got so far, still plenty to do, for a start the compost area needs to be fenced in, either with pallets of some other materials, and of course more plants need to be put in, then fingers crossed it should just be matter of weeding and general gardening type stuff, although I have noticed some bind weed about the plot, which will need keeping on top of, or removing completely, which may not be possible, I'm working on a post about the gate, and how you can make a gate for your garden or indeed allotment plot so stay tuned :-)

Thanks for reading.

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