James Matthew Atkinson

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Main » 2015 » August » 23 » The allotment has taken shape with lots of satisfying work
0:51 AM
The allotment has taken shape with lots of satisfying work

It has been a while since the last update. Quite a few pieces have been put into place in order to make the allotment as productive as possible. Julia has planned it out and planted the vegetables and plants in order to complement them (and mainly bring the pollinators)
In the meantime I attended a weekend beekeeping course at RHS Harlow Carr in Harrogate. It was through the Ripon and Harrogate Beekeepers Society and was very enjoyable and educational. Unfortunately it came late in the summer meaning I have to plan to keep bees at the beginning of next year.



Julia and I have had lovely moments with the allotment. I dug a French drain where I had planned to place a shed. I also go contractors in to stick a foundation down. That French drain took some digging. I wanted to dig deep and using special soak away crates and geo-tex fabric. The only problem was that I did not plan on such large rocks and clay. The clay would make the soak away even harder to flow the water away than a comparable bed of soil. I just planned deeper and wider to compensate. I bought a good pickaxe and was lent a superb, if basic, large metal bar. The bar was indispensable in moving the large rocks. Those rocks would just insane, almost like have Brimham Rocks underground!



Once the task was completed I used the larger rocks to use in the allotment. When I made two bases ready for beehives I used the spare wood to make a basic bench that stretches between the rocks. It is a satisfying feeling to sit up there watching the sun go down over Nidderdale. We purchased some good hose to run water up from my parent’s house and then a sprinkler to help the growing along. Once the shed was installed it meant that three water butts are fed by the guttering meaning less reliance on the mains water. Time will tell on that one as I have just completed connecting them up.



Before the shed, which we waited quite a few months to be eventually built, we really struggled when it rained. It was a case of braving all weathers. Now though we have a place to shelter. There was the necessity for cups of tea and food so a stove was on the agenda. It was a bit of a bind choosing the type of gas but Calor patio fitted the bill and now it is tea and food in all weathers!



Julia really has planned the vegetables very well. We are eating fresh everyday and together with the greenhouse Julia really gives us the best food.  This includes lots of potatoes, courgettes, tomatoes, cabbage, onion and many other great fresh foods. The no dig method has created a productive environment and one Julia says she can improve on year on year. The weather at the moment is appalling. It is wet and the temperature is changing constantly, to the point where in the daytime there can be at least 8-degree differences.
The produce that we receive from the plot has got more and more as the year draws on. I know that sounds obvious but, for me, it shows that Julia planned the planting well from the start. The various types of potatoes have been particularly plentiful. Enough are being ‘tickled out’ that there are loads to go around the family. The leaks are starting to look splendid, as do the pumpkins. My work has been mainly at the new shed by making sure it is correctly placed and ready for us to have a perfect base to work from. The French drain now has the gutter’s downpipe flowing into it when the rain diverter for the water butts has managed to fill them. There really has been so much rain that it fills the butts in next to no time.



At the moment I am painting some old chairs with Annie Sloan chalk paint. This is so we have a matching set to use, and lets face it, is simply great fun to mess around with. We even had two desks brought from Hein Gericke UK Ltd when it went into receivership. These racking type desks survived my fathers leaking garage due to when we bubble wrapped them at the point of removing the items from my old work. They were well wrapped and I was thankful we did such a good job. Red Squirrel Sheds made a top job of shed. I also asked them to build a bench in it too. The bench is superb for and now we can’t complain that there is not enough workspace. One of the benches is now mainly for the stove and food, almost like a little allotment kitchen. It can be quite cosy in there. Recently I bought a spotlight and Coleman CPX LED lamp that means when it gets darker than there is enough light to spread around. It impresses me how far the simple light has come. The technology means batteries will last longer and the LED’s are much brighter than the old simple bulbs. I’ve changed a lot of the spotlights in our bungalow for LED versions for the same reasons. Good quality brands such as Phillips mean that you should have a guarantee of prolonged life.



There is more work to be done inside the shed for allotment tool hanging and eventually honey extracting equipment. This is going to be great fun when it begins and I cannot wait to start the process. There is one thing I have learnt and that is if the allotment garden just grew with little work then most of the joy would be diminished.

Category: Beekeeping & Veg | Views: 731 | Added by: James | Rating: 0.0/0
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