New Year’s Day

Today we’ve been cutting sycamore for posts, and hazel for binders, to tie in the new hedging whips; clearing dead vegetation and filling the compost bins at the back of the plot; collecting woodchip to lay on paths, then sitting in the shed drinking tea, watching rain sweep up the valley.
It’s been a good day, if a bit damp and grey, and we made time for one more cup of tea, and watched the light fade.


A Good Day to Collect Seaweed

Overcast with outbreaks of rain through the morning, with some heavier bursts. From early afternoon the rain will mostly clear northeastwards, though remaining dull, damp and misty for most…

We were enveloped in cloud this morning; couldn’t see across the street to the Downs beyond. With cloud clinging to the hillside, it seemed a good day to collect seaweed.

The promenade and beach were quiet, apart from a few solitary souls out walking. Following the falling tide, as it retreated scattering seaweed across the shingle, we managed to collect six bags; but each time we collect there seems to be more detritus and ghost tackle snagged in the seaweed.

Added to the potato beds, it will be left to rot over winter in preparation for the coming year; but not today. In the grey light it was enough to pile the bags at the bottom of the allotment, check on the plants in the greenhouse, and add a layer of shredded paper to the worm bins to provide insulation, and bedding over winter. For some reason the bins have not been working properly, so we inoculated the waste with compost, full of worms, from the tea bin, and now the bins are smelling a lot sweeter, and there’s a great deal of worm activity on the surface and hopefully below too. Then the rain set in and we retreated to the shed.

…another fairly grey and damp day out there for many people…



Winter Work

It will be rather cloudy across southern England with outbreaks of rain, this turning heavy and persistent in places during the afternoon. Elsewhere there will be some sunshine, but also blustery showers…

Yesterday was miserable; a grey sullen day. A day to keep moving, working. Laying more wood chip on paths, sorting out beds ready to plant out garlic. And in between, stopping to have a cup of tea and a natter in the tea hut.

Such a difference today, mild in the sun. We’re preparing the potato beds; layers of seaweed; grass cuttings; crop remnants, topped off with a layer of composted wood chip from the paths. This will be left over winter, in preparation for planting potatoes in the spring.


On a Wintry Day


Wintry showers spreading south during the morning…

There’s never a moment of inactivity on this allotment site, even on the bleakest of days. Yesterday was sunshine, wind and rain, sleet too, but still there were people working their plots; our neighbours across the valley stacking boards to replace rotten ones they’re using as terracing. We’ve continued to use felled sycamore to repair our beds through the winter; the results, a softening of outlines, an irregularity after the severe regimentation of scaffolding boards. The beds meander rather than sit grid-like across our plot, but then again we were never ones for squaring off, so the felled logs continue an arrangement that has evolved over time.

We often find the seaweed mulch scattered across the paths bordering the fruit beds. Sitting quietly by the shed drinking tea, we watch a blackbird root through, then select a strand of seaweed from a pile ringing a gooseberry bush. The seaweed is pulled away and the blackbird methodically picks at the strand. A Robin scratches and pecks at the wood chip on the path.
Then the rain sets in again & we decide to take shelter in our ‘new’ greenhouse. The frame was given by a neighbour on our site, the glazing we acquired through Freecycle, and where it didn’t fit we cut and patched with scavenged polycarbonate, securing it in place with gaffer tape where necessary. It withstood the wind yesterday, which is a good sign. Now it just needs plants.

Between showers we managed to weed and began to prune the sage bushes, but then we were engulfed by a hail storm and decided that we’d done enough for the day.

hail storm_allotment