A Tale of Two Plots: Plot 37
By Angie, Feb 12 2013 11:58AM
Plot 37 was very overgrown when we took it over. Initially, it consisted of only 2.5 rods as this was all that was available to us.
Because we didn't feel that the 2.5 rods was sufficient as an additional plot, we offered to return this to cultivated condition, pending another larger plot becoming available. Fortunately, in October 2012, the other plotholder decided not to continue with their half, so we took over the full 5 rods.
The plot had originally been split into 18 inch wide strips of beds, edged with tongue a groove planks, separated by makeshift paths of compost bags, covered in bark chips. Unfortunately, all this had become completely overgrown with couch grass, so it took some time to uncover the beds and paths. As the wooden edging had rotted away, we decided to completely clear the whole area.
The soil under the couch grass was over-cropped, hungry, weed choked and rock solid clay.
There had been a bed of strawberries which were hidden within the couch. We also uncovered two fairly poor condition gooseberry bushes and a pawlonia tree. There were also a couple of pallet compost heaps and a dalek composter.
We cut back the top growth of the grass, but found, similar with plot 39, the soil was unpenetrable with a fork. We decided therefore to use the lasagne bed method to get this plot up and productive asap.
We removed the larger perennial weeds, then covered the couch grass with layers of cardboard, grass clippings, manure and any other compostables we were able to get our hands on. We set up two larger beds and planted these with summer and winter squashes to get them productive.
We then dug out the strawberries, identified the newer plants and replanted these in the weeded, manured bed, mulching with wetted newspaper and topping with compost from the pallet composters.
We decided we didn't need all the compost bins, so demolished the pallet compost bins and left the dalek bin to use.
We planted some cosmos plantlets, donated by a fellow plotholder to encourage the pollinators.
We got word that the other half plot was now available, so we have started clearing this half. We started by clearing the area at the front of the shed to create a comfrey bed.
We disposed of all the rotten wood onto the site bonfire and cleared the squash bed which had now finished cropping, planting up over-wintering onions and covering against the pigeons.
The remaining bed was planted with cabbages.
Finally, we dug out the pawlonia tree which, lovely tree though it is, is totally unsuited to an allotment plot.
This pretty much brings me up to date with progress on the plots.