Planning the plot

Before the digging, you have got to have a plan.

That’s my excuse for keeping the spade in the shed.

It’s half an allotment. There is no recognised standard allotment size in the UK though according to that ever-reliable source of information, Wikipedia , plots are generally between 200 and 400 square metres.

As the rain dripped off my head last Saturday, I paced out my little piece of land. There are no formal markings on our site – I promise not to criticise the Parish Council. But at a rough guess, Allotment 5½ is 120 square metres, give or take half a square pole.

Plenty of room.

Last Sunday I sat down with pencil, graph paper, ruler and seed catalogue. Old fashioned, I know. Many years ago I struggled with garden design software. Maybe it was lack of processor speed, memory or me not reading the instructions. Anyway. Until I become a CAD expert, I will stay old school.

The plan is to dig a number of small plots as we go. I sketched
out 4 or 5 plots of 10 square metres or so. This should accommodate the planting plan.

For this first allotment year, there is no need to get clever. We will stick with a basic assortment of vegetables.

  • early and main crop potatoes
  • white and red onion sets
  • garlic
  • peas
  • runner beans
  • leeks (knowing the soil this last one might me a challenge)

The garlic, onions and earlies will sit in the first plots at the far end from the main path. These will go in asap. Given another couple of reasonably not-to-soggy weeks, I plan to start digging in mid-February. I think that is at about the limit of how late the garlic can be planted.

We will aim to plant onions in that same first plot. And, with any luck, the potatoes will go in during the first half of March.

March looks to be the crucial month for completing the plots. I have got a week’s leave planned to break the back of the digging – or perhaps my back.

Because we can still have cold days through March and April, there will be no rush with the beans and peas. We were still harvesting beans in September from the garden plot last year.

Speaking of the garden plot, that is being reserved for green leaves and whatever comes to hand.

070416-herbs012
Herbs are already on the go – thyme, sage and mint. Basil seeds are due to be sown sometime in the next few weeks. I am keen to try germination in the airing cupboard. My inventory picked out some old marjoram too. That about completes the herbs.

Finally, in the greenhouse, we’ll try again with tomatoes (a disaster last year) and cucumbers (a surprise).

Sounds like a plan.

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