February’s Changing Seasons ~ Shots From The Plot

 

Way-hay – it’s spring, or so it seems, and now I feel I need to garden on the run in order to catch up. Much earth moving must be done at the allotment – all the jobs it was too wet to do in the autumn. All the jobs that it’s still to wet to do now. But at least the temperatures are kinder.

And the light is so promising. I’m celebrating that fact in the re-composed top shot of an allotment sunset, captured through the neighbouring hedgerow.

In fact every day now you can see the over-wintered plant life responding as light levels and temperatures rise: purple sprouting sprouting, cauliflowers hatching inside their leaf-folds, chives shooting, rhubarb unfurling, spinach expanding. Then there are carrots to pull from their bucket in the polytunnel, and Chinese mustard and Russian Kale; the autumn sown lettuce are starting to fill out.

Meanwhile inside the polytunnel a big makeover is also afoot. He-who-makes-raised-beds-out-of-old-pallets has been dragooned  into  commissioned to reorganise the planting zones. Instead of wide beds along each side and a path up the middle, the plan is to have one continuous narrow but deep bed on one side, a narrow raised bed down the centre for tomatoes, and three separate raised beds down the far side.

After two days slog establishing the first and second phases, HWMRBOOOP heroically informs me that the stage 3 separate beds are now ready, flat-pack style, for the final part of the installation. The only problem is that it is now windy and raining and we don’t feel like leaving the house. Also this last part of operations will require shifting tons of soil from the old side bed into the new beds, and there’s only so much heaving and hauling one can do in a week.

I’ve already shunted and prepared the soil in polytunnel beds 1 and 2, turned over three big squidgy compost heaps (my compost making technique leaves a lot to be desired), sifted out enough usable stuff to cover several outdoor beds, while starting a new heap with all the stuff that needs to go round again. I have another six heaps to deal with.

At the moment I have one and half allotment plots, but I’m aiming to dispense with the top half of my oldest plot this March when the rents are due. Ultimately, I’d like to retreat altogether to my polytunnel half plot, by which time I should have a fully functioning NO DIG raised bed/terrace system. The theory is that since this system will be more manageable and productive, a half plot should be more than sufficient for our needs. However, as I’ve mentioned several times in other posts, this approach does rely on making loads of compost every year, and that takes up space. Anyway, one step at a time.

And in between compost turning,  moving the gooseberry bush, and pruning the autumn raspberries, there is always time to take a few photos. So here follows a gallery of shots from the February allotment, one of which makes me realise that my polytunnel now also needs a good wash. Heavens to Betsy – is there no end to the gardener’s toil:

To take part in the monthly Changing Seasons challenge please visit Max aka Cardinal Guzman.

41 thoughts on “February’s Changing Seasons ~ Shots From The Plot

    1. In the eccentric style, definitely we English know our onions. But then the French always seem to me to be much more well balanced in their gardening creations, though they do have a better climate to work with. In fact, now you’ve raised this, I find I do hanker for a French garden. A rather inconvenient notion to have here in Shropshire juxta Sherwood.

  1. Nice to see the windmill get into the frame 😉 And you say your rhubarb is unfurling? I had a look at mine the other day and couldn’t see any sign of it. Should I worry? I love reading about your allotmenteering, you are such an inspiration. Though I could make use of HWMRBOOOP – I’m thinking of rebuilding a granite wall to make it wider so I can actually plant something in it. That might be biting off more than I can chew given my sciatica.

    1. It might be a late variety. You could have a bit of a furtle around the crown to see what’s what. Then cover it with compost or an upturned bucket/bin/rhubarb forcer. That granite wall sounds quite a challenge though. He of the pallet-making did rebuild a limestone wall with traditional mortar last year. Perhaps I should be hiring him out 🙂

  2. That last shot is like a painting; lovely. I so enjoy reading your allotmenteering (thanks Jude) posts. Your gardening is so much more focused than mine, but I do have a kinder climate to help forgive my sloppiness and mistakes.

    1. Drat! I shall be suffering from vegetable envy now. Just been sowing some aubergine seeds in modules in the kitchen, and wondering if they’ll come to much. But thank you for your nice comment. Could you waft some heat this way, Dr. Ian, please. It’s going cooler here next week.

  3. This is a very inspiring post. It sounds like incredibly hard work but work that is satisfying and rewarding. Over here later summer has a similar effect on the garden as your winter. Nothing much grows. I am waiting on the cooler autumn weather to really get stuck into my plot and build up the soil. Growing in a polytunnel must make gardening worth while in your part of the world. I might rig up mini versions to grow some early spring greens here later in the year.

    1. It’s amazing what a bit of protection will do for plants. I love my tunnel, though I’m not so sure I’m going to enjoy washing its insides. Has to be done though. Good luck with your garden projects.

      1. Urg that sounds like a horrible job. I picturing green slime or worse, that black sooty mould we can get in bathrooms over here. Good luck. Maybe you should wear a face mask so you don’t inhale spore.

    1. It’s like standing on the threshold – this place between winter and spring – so much anticipation – is it here or isn’t it? Today we’re promised 70 mph wind, so a good day to rest the bodily aches.

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