Yesterday my friend was told that no one could help her on the plot when she was not there as it was considered trespassing. This seems problematic to me as you cannot divide your time between two people; if she cannot make it for two weeks that means nothing gets done until she can come. I am not sure what they expect people to do if the go on a holiday if they are not allowed to have someone come and help water/weed whilst away.
Fortunately, that has not dampened our enthusiasm, just slowed a little as it means we will get a lot less done when she is not available to come down to the plot. There are still big plans afoot.
I have drawn up a scale plot plan so that we could see how many raised beds we can fit in the currently bare land. I added to this the seedlings that we could put in this year; quite thinly for my tastes but I did not want to overload things especially if now the work of weeding and watering cannot be divided by half.
For now we will ‘follow the rules’ and then as people get to know us and see that we are working hard I am sure that the strictness will subside and it will get easier as we are more established. Either that or I will just say to anyone I meet ‘I am expecting my friend to turn up any minute’
So, the plan (dramatic music inserted here); the large area of the plot with the fruit trees and bare soil measures 10m x 5m and then we have a small bed along the fence. I did not include in this plan as it is not really feasible for vegetables; it’s very narrow and mostly shaded by blackberry.
I divided the plot up into 10 beds of a couple of sizes as the fruit trees are taking up a little bit of space. I added one foot wide paths beside each bed and a wider two foot path down the middle for wheelbarrow access just in case (cardboard and barkchips laid). The far end I left as the raspberry and rhubarb patch and also a seating and random pot area. I did not want the entire thing to be beds and then not be able to stand anywhere and talk about the marvellous job we are doing.
The space/bed underneath the fruit trees will be some shade and also an odd shape planting wise so we will plant flowers for bees and bulbs for early spring – perhaps also some herbs that will not need cultivating each year.
I allocated one bed for asparagus and have chosen three kinds of asparagus ‘Crimson Pacific’, ‘Jersey Knight’ and Connover’s Colossal’; I put the bed in an out-of-the-way place as it will not need much work once the asparagus are planted (just general weeding and watering but not much pruning)
We will put in trellis for the cucumber and the peas along the side of a couple of beds in places where they will not shade other plants. The parsnip and leeks will be planted out in places that are more awkward to get to as they do not need tending to every day. Corn has been allocated in a place that will not shade other plants; the same with the tomatoes.
Swiss chard, spinach, beetroot and kale will go in the shadier parts of the plot; the red current and some of the trees on the neighbour’s plot create some shade so we will just aim to add plants that don’t need full sun to that section.
We will do intercropping where we can – such as lettuce underneath the corn and rows of fast growing root vegetables between the Brassica.
We have old pallet boards and garden borders that I dug up from my old garden to use as raised beds; I would rather spend money on good quality seedlings than pay for expensive wood just to start off.
Hopefully, it will all work out but I appreciate suggestions; have I forgotten anything important or essential? Do you think there is a better or easier way to lay it out? This is my first large plot layout so I would like any un/seasoned allotmenteer to let me know any pitfall they can foresee.
Updates will come through the summer no doubt and pictures of all the great produce we will end up with, stay tuned.