Monday, 20 February 2012

Attack On Manure Mountain

The Allotment
Last year, friends of ours obtained an allotment, with the price of food rising, this made good sense. Like us, they are keen amateurs and their allotment is an oasis of calm in the middle of the city.  It is a pretty big space though, especially for a busy family with kids; so they asked us and other friends, if we would like to join in and make it a communal effort. 
Lovely Weather For It
The first job was defining where the beds were going to be and removing as much of the weeds and rocks as possible from the ground. While doing this preparatory work, late last summer, we caught a slow worm and brought him home so that he could be released to feast on the ants and slugs in our garden. When I was a boy, I had a pet grass snake but he kept escaping and scaring my mum.

The next stage was to thoroughly dig all the beds over and weed them. This is really hard work, especially if you don’t have much spare time and are not used to it. So it does pay to have a few extra contributors who will help when they can. Once the beds had been roughly turned over, we left them to allow Jack Frost to break the ground up a bit further.
Attack On Manure Mountain
Then, in a fit of enthusiasm, Pete recklessly ordered a trailer full of manure from a local farm in Rownhams. The tractor duly arrived and delivered the pile of poo/straw; the job now, was to spread it over the various beds to nourish the ground before planting.
Another Barrow Load
The mountain of muck looked a daunting task when we first arrived, but the sun was out and we soon put a significant dent in it. Using our forks, spades and a wheelbarrow, we distributed it about the site while the kids worked to help spread it out.
Looking Better
Then, reinforcements arrived. Fortunately they came bearing banana cake, our fig-roll and doughnut supply was running dangerously low at this point.
A Pretty Good Effort So Far
After all the hard graft, the fun part is thinking about what to plant, I’m definitely having some raspberries and blueberries in my plot, I love being able to eat the tastiest fruit straight off the plant.
The Full Team, Hard At Work
I think a nice little tree makes sense too; something that gives us luscious fruit early in the season seems a sound idea. We’ll also be planting some exciting root vegetables; so we’ll have something to bring home for the Head Chef.
Of Course, It's Not All Hard Work...

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