Over the last few days, there has been no discernible progress with digging on the patch. However, J and our farmer neighbour had a bit of man time tinkering with the rotavator and, after much banging and, no doubt, some cursing, they got it working. So Sunday, saw J getting to work and rotavating the sections which we’d previously dug and covered with plastic.
It actually took remarkably little time, and no effort at all from me, to turn a barren looking patch of land into a potential filled vegetable patch.
Once done, myself and the kids set to work raking it over and trying to get rid of even more stones, some have been added to the rockpile, but the majority have been raked into the area around the booby blob to try and bring it up to the level of the rest of the patch – we probably won’t be looking to plant around the blob, but I didn’t just want it sat there exposed, inviting any passing wasp to make a nest.
I then decided I couldn’t put it off any longer, and tested the PH level of the soil. I was expecting it to be quite acidic, however it’s alkaline soil. After a bit of Googling, it turns out this shouldn’t have been a surprise, as soils that are filled with the detritus of building works, often are apparently. I added some Blood, Fish and Bone fertiliser and raked it in to try and improve the levels a little, and now I need to get digging in the compost bins, to see if there’s anything usable in there which I can add; if not, a trip for compost is in order before I get too carried away planting everything.
However, the patch looked so appealing, I couldn’t just let it sit there with nothing to do, and so I have started to plant a few things. I have some strawberry plants, which were runners from plants at my mum’s house, which I cut when in Leicester (and in turn, mum’s plants are runners from our old allotment), they’re not the healthiest looking, as the green shoots are only just starting to come through, but I’ve used runners from other plants for a few years, and never had a problem with them fruiting, and so am hopeful these won’t be any different. I’ve also planted the broad bean plants which have been hardened off over the last couple of weeks, and were starting to look far too big for their seed trays – and they’re looking very happy in their new home.
Admittedly, then I did start to feel quite excited about it really starting to look like a veg patch, and so I’ve also sown another row of broad beans, and two rows of beetroot seeds.
The soil is lovely and warm, and the weather is due to stay warm, and so fingers crossed these should all germinate and sprout fine in there. The only problem I can foresee is the lack of rain we’re currently experiencing, it hasn’t rained here for about three weeks, the water butt is almost empty and we don’t have any rain forecast until next week at the earliest. We had kept black plastic over the patch up until it was rotavated, and this has helped retain some moisture in the soil, so hopefully between that and regular waterings, there’ll be enough moisture to get them going.
I have also started cutting up the black plastic, to use as a lining for the paths; the first section is down, and I’m hoping to get another done tomorrow. I can’t ignore the fact that it feels like the pickaxe and spade are staring at me accusingly from the other end of the patch, which is still requiring lots of attention, but for now, I’m enjoying getting the patch to do some work for a change.