Tag: progress report

Plot #59 Update: February 2016

Plot #59, February 2016
Still a bit sparse and scruffy-looking, but a dose of sunshine really makes a difference.

After a slow start to February – mainly due to repeat bursts of very wet weather – the past week has been dry and fine enough to finally get down to Plot #59 and get on with some of the season’s prep work.

Mainly that has involved basic prep work and digging in horse muck for the asparagus bed to-be. I’ve still got some more work to do there before the crowns arrive at the end of March, but it’s definitely on schedule.

Jo and I also spent some time this last weekend weeding and clearing last year’s growing areas, around the permanent fruit bushes and along the rows of over-wintering leeks, onions and garlic. And I started in on rough-clearing the back section that hasn’t really been touched at all for at least two years. Getting on top of the weeds now will mean less to do over the next couple of months, when it will be all hands to the seed trays to get this year’s crops sown, germinated and potted on as needed.

Meanwhile, back at base, I’ve been sowing leeks and broad beans. It’s always good to get started on some of the main edible staples and these are two of my (admittedly many) favourites.

All in all, I think things are looking pretty good. There are some landscaping, organising and infrastructure jobs on the to-do list that I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in to. March and April should be busy and then May, June and July even more so. Bring it on.

(There won’t be a Cottage Garden Project update this month as we’ve not done much at all to the garden since the last update. Although Jo has sown some sweet pea and other flower seeds… but more on those once they’ve germinated).

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Establishing Shots: Plot #59 in December 2015

My wife, Jo, and I took on Plot #59 at Langley Allotments in Prestwich in January 2014. It had been only minimally worked and by the last tenant or two and by the time we arrived had mostly gone back to grass and weed. You can see from these photos what we had to contend with (click the thumbnails for a larger version):

Our first year on the plot was one of manic weed clearance, with a bit of growing here and there as time and space allowed. We managed to grow a decent crop of staples – broad beans, potatoes, runner beans, courgettes, kale, garlic, leeks, cabbages, rhubarb, raspberries and blackcurrants – and were determined to push ahead in year two.

Of course we then decided to move house and ended up (due to all the usual palaver) doing so at the height of the growing season. This knocked our progress back a bit (it’s hard to get out and dig over your beds when you have an entire library’s worth of books to pack up, solicitors to liaise with, removal firms to book and all the rest of it), and the somewhat less than ideal weather did its best to hold us back as well.

But we persisted, and did as much as we could, including digging a truly epic spud patch (twelve three-metre rows of ’em) and clearing a tree stump or two in the process. We ended up with a handsome harvest of all sorts of good things: all of the last year’s staples, plus a few additions: sweetcorn, climbing beans, brussels sprouts, romanesco (it mostly bolted but was still very tasty as ‘yellow sprouting’ broccoli) parsnips, beetroot, redcurrants and salsify (although I have to confess, I haven’t dug any of the latter yet, so we’ll see what’s happened there after the first decent frost). Jo’s sunflowers were exceedingly lovely, and the decorative beds at the front of the plot produced a plethora of colourful blooms.

Here’s an assortment of pics from across the year (again, click the thumbnails…):

This pic was taken at the end of October. The plot wasn’t at its very greenest, with all the spuds harvested, and most of the surplus foliage cleared away, but if gives you a sense of the progress we’ve made since we took over:

Plot #59, October 2015

Jo and I have big plans for year three. The next round of clearing and digging over is under way at the front of the plot, and we’re stocking up on seeds for a big push in Spring.

I’ll be keeping you updated, so please do feel free to follow me on Twitter @nftallotment for updates.

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