Friday, 4 April 2008
First things first
Although I'd originally hoped for a full size plot (10 rods in length - I think it translates to 90 feet by about 30 or something like that), I was number 6 on a waiting list of 8 and so had to make do with what was available which was a half-size plot. I was told that the whole plot had been rotovated in January 2007 but it had been left to its own devices since then. I had been allocated the bottom half of plot 19B and the top half was going to be tended by S. We decided, more or less, where the halfway point was, demarcating this with sticks, and got going!
I have to admit to feeling a little daunted as the ground was lumpy and covered in grass but, having had a full-size plot several years ago in Guildford, I figured I could probably manage a half-size plot of about 27 feet wide and 24 feet long. In other words, I went into it with my eyes wide open knowing that the preparation would be backbreaking, time consuming and extremely lengthy.
Time for some pictures, I feel. The one up there to your right was taken after I'd been working the plot for about 2 weeks and finally remembered to take my camera! It shows the width of the plot and at this point I'd put in a row of Broad Beans and a couple of rows of Onion sets. You can see the colour of the soil - it's really very nice light, crumbly, and well draining which I've been told can lead to good Carrots! We'll see is all I'm saying!
But the couch grass...my dear, the whole site is RIDDLED with it. For example, this is the place where I've decided to plant Rocket seeds but it needed a second hand weeding - you can see the size of the bed from the green kneeler just above it, it doesn't need to be very large - and just look at the amount of couch grass rootage that came out of it! Ferocious!
But, having said that, because the ground is so friable, you can grab the end of one of the roots and just pull and out it comes...and comes...and comes. It sort of reminded me of taking out my own surgical stitches (long story, won't go into it here - maybe later...) in that you just see this small thread-like end and pull it, and inches of the stuff comes out. I then got all philosophical (as you do when you're on your knees, elbow-deep in soil) and started thinking about the couch grass roots being the threads and stitches that hold the ground together....nah, doesn't really work though, does it?
So, onto more recent stuff - on 2 April I managed to dig a trench and stuck in my First Early Potatoes. I've decided to have a go at Pentland Javelin and see what they're like. Here they are, nestling into their beds, before I cover them over.