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Hibernation and Allotment Planning

I received a lovely message the other day from a redditor pointing out that it's been quite some time since I posted anything here.  Indeed it has, and thank you for noticing.  It's funny how you can go from being unhealthily preoccupied with something to forgetting about it almost entirely over the space of just six weeks.  This blog has shifted from the front to the back of my mind as winter has drawn in, and I find myself contemplating various things I won't go into just yet, fighting the will to boredom and complacency and - most of all - sleeping.

I have been sleeping a tremendous amount, but really, why should that be anything to be ashamed of?  The more I ponder it, the more it seems to me that many of the ills of human life are caused by a lack of sleep.  Imagine if we all went to bed whenever it got dark, and slept until the sun rose again, every day, no matter what our waking commitments.  Imagine if society were set up to allow for just such behaviour.  I see no good reason why it shouldn't be.

Naturally, sleeping more means "doing" less, and that includes blogging, and it also includes allotmenting.  This too is as it should be: it's getting to cold to do much digging, though I have found the time to begin my second, re-purposed bookcase raised bed.

Yesterday, however, I spent the afternoon at Sarah and Jon's, and while Jon was at work Sarah and I started Planning how we might use the allotment space next year.  I don't know for certain yet if the allotment will actually become "mine" after February when my "trial period" ends, though I'm optimistically working on that assumption.

Sarah remarked several times how she was "jealous" of my having an allotment, and is full of enthusiasm for growing Edible Things, as I am.  I am also keen to grow in edible things too: as I remarked before, I'd like the place to be as much a work of art as it is a farm.  Anyway, nothing to be jealous about; what's mine is yours.  Property is nothing at all.

I even like the idea of just getting a load of seeds of as many varieties as I can find and throwing them all over the place, with no planning of any kind.  That would be a lot of fun, and the result could be a remarkable sight, but not an edible one.  So some planning is probably for the best.  Here's what we've put together so far:

This isn't perfectly to scale, but it gives you a rough idea of the dimensions of the plot.  Blue is planting space, white is walking or otherwise unused space.  The gate is at the bottom right of the diagram, with the path running between 6 and 7/8.  Here's what we plan to grow where:

1.  This is my "acidic bed" where I've been dumping all the orange a citrus peels I can get my hands on, in the hope that they will acidify the soil and make better conditions for growing fruit.  Thinking raspberries, and maybe other more unusual things like loganberries or some kind of cherry here.

2.  The first raised bed, measuring approximately 8 x 3 feet.  Broccoli, mustard greens, spinach, cress, rocket and other salad ingredients.

3.  The second raised bed.  Sweet potatoes, squash, courgettes.  May require a polytunnel or some other covering.

4.  Blackcurrant bush.  Pruned back and trimmed and ready to go next year.

5.  What I call "bed 2".  At the top end, near to the blackcurrant bush, I have my rose bushes, in and amongst which I've included some cat mint as a companion.  Sarah isn't so keen on these because they're not edible.  But roses look nice, so they're staying, at least for now.  I've dug out the rest of the space and did try some broccoli and onions from seed back in September, but nothing much seems to have happened here.  The plan now is to use the space for peas, beans and sweetcorn, using rosemary, dill and marigolds as companion plants.

6.  "Bed 1".  It began as my herb patch, and that's how I'd like to expand it.  Currently growing sage, rosemary and chives.  Will add thyme, dill, borage, tarragon and any other herbs I like the look of.  Mint will be kept in pots so it doesn't take over everything else undemocratically, as mint is wont to do.  At the top end, near the gate, I've planted some garlic, which is coming on very nicely indeed.  Down at the other end, some spring onions have established themselves, to my delight.  In and amongst I hope to find room for more onions, cabbages and kale.

7.  The greenhouse.  Fairly dilapidated at the moment, but there's a strong frame that's staying put.  I'm thinking of getting a large plastic sheet to drape over and tie in place, rather than going through the more laborious work of replacing all the panels.  Inside the greenhouse: tomatoes (of the cherry variety, probably) various peppers, cucumbers/gherkins and basil.  I'll need to get some kind of shelving in there too for starting things off in the early spring.

8.  Outside and around the greenhouse: lawn chamomile.  Another herb that apparently deters the sort of pests that might take a liking to pepper and tomatoes.

9.  The shed.

10.  The "inedible bed".  Where I plant things that you can't eat, but look nice.  Foliage, and my acer tree.

11.  The space above the fruit bed has still to be cleared out, as has a fair bit of space along the back end, where bind weed, brambles and various other invasive greenery still claims territory.  But that's for another year.  You have to take things slowly.  Don't worry.  Get plenty of sleep.  What else would you rather be doing?  Be honest.

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This post first appeared on A Possible World, please read the originial post: here

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Hibernation and Allotment Planning


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