Allotment Planning Notes: 2016 Edition

With the recent weather continuing in distinctly inclement mode and not a great deal of digging done, I’ve turned my attention to a spot of plot planning instead.

Last year – our second full year on the plot – we managed to achieve the majority of what we set out to do, despite the disruption of a house move over the summer. A full half of the plot was cleared for cultivation – which involved a lot of deep-digging and one full-on tree-stump-removal job – on top of the quarter or so that we’d managed to clear the year before. Also: our old greenhouse was transported from our previous home and re-erected on base of salvaged paving slabs, and the long-term fruit bush (assorted currants and gooseberries), rhubarb, strawberry and raspberry sections were planted up. Not too shabby, considering the state of the ground when we took it over in January 2014.

Stumpy, just before The Chop
Meet Stumpy, the biggest obstacle we had to overcome in 2015.

We have some pretty ambitions plans for 2016. I’m no artist, but hopefully these amateurish felt-pen jottings (nothing’s precisely to scale, although the 9.5m x 27m dimensions of the plot are pretty well-reflected) ought to offer a decent idea of the general shape of the plot as it finished up last year, alongside my outline plans for the work to come.

Plots #59 in 2015    Plots #59 plans for 2016

Click either of those two pics for a larger image.

All of which means we’re going to be attempting the following sub-projects in 2016 (from the top of the pic):

  • Remove the old, pre-takeover compost bay from the back-left corner, weed thoroughly (it’s rife with bindweed, sticky willie and dock) and replace with three plastic compost bins that we’ve bought or acquired.
  • Move the three water barrels from the left-hand side and add them to the existing greenhouse mini water-butt setup.
  • Remove the cherry tree, unless it manages an impressive display of blossom and promises some actual fruit, unlike the last two years.
  • Use our collection of various cast-off driveway blocks, assorted bricks, slabs of patio stone etc. to make a rough, patchwork paving area around the compost bins and greenhouse.
  • Clear the rough area around the base of the willow tree (W) and plant with spuds in due course.
  • Remove (and scrap) the old 3×1 metre raised bed to make way for a central path (which will be paved, eventually) up the centre of the plot.
  • Clear space either side of the path for perennial / annual flowering plants (a.k.a. pollinator magnets).
  • Dig out the asparagus bed, add manure and gravel, form ridges and plant up with newly-acquired crowns.
  • Work out how to weave last year’s willow cuttings into some sort of useful wind-break screens to help cut down on wind-rock damage for taller and/or vulnerable plants.
  • Continue to clear, cultivate and plant the rest of the plot with a lovely assortment of vegetable goodness, in rotation, with a fair amount of successional sowing thrown in for good measure…

I reckon that little lot should keep us busy enough. Of course, we’ll be finding the time to make a proper start on the Cottage Garden Project as well. It’s going to be a good year.

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