Last week I left the plot in a pretty chaotic state with cardboard and black plastic placed haphazardly over the undug section (ie most of the plot).This Sunday the plan was to make a quick visit to plot with partner and then work on the allotment. Almost six hours after arriving, we left tired, but happier as real and visible progress was made and some order was whipped into my mess from the week before. The plot, at last has a structure.
Last September when we started this we were duped by the ease of digging the first two beds. In the sun on a gentle, warm afternoon the soil was easy to dig. We didn’t realise that the rest of the plot was much heavier clay with dock roots going deep into the soil. Having dug beds by all the boundaries, the middle heavy (in parts blue clay) section was left. The thought of digging this was daunting and probably not feasible with the current demands at work, but just covering it with black plastic for any length of time was too ugly an option. So Sunday saw the laying down of clear paths with weed suppressant membrane and the covering of ‘soon to be beds’ with thick cardboard and later a layer of heavy mulch.
Hopefully this will kill off the weaker weeds and make it easier to lever out the more determined docks. This is an idea I read about in Charles Dowding books on vegetable growing and we will see if it works for flowers too. It is for the long term and as these beds will be for dahlias, roses and peonies eventually, the richer soil should work.
I am definitely more of a dilettante than I have accepted before and today saw the advantage of being focused and task driven as my partner insisted we finished setting out the plot and rejected the lure of a pint in the pub.
A real pleasure on Sunday was being able to cut flowers for the first time and give them away. The tulips were in full throttle and the hesperis is almost there with the cornflowers not far behind.
This is an experimental, slow start year, but after Sunday it is easier to see how the plot might develop.