Garden Journal

I came across an allotment site that encouraged its members to keep a journal of the year, including time and money spent, and the vegetables and fruit produced.

Now would be a good time to start a more detailed accounting of inputs and outputs, since I have been at the allotment for a solid month. I have spent pretty much all of my free daylight hours there, much to my wife’s chagrin.

Saturday 2 February 2013: 3 hours. Paid for our first plot, and spent the afternoon with Hyrum clearing away garbage and gathering stray lumber, bamboo and various “bits and bobs” as they say here. The plot was surprisingly plentiful with metal poles used in a now-defunct mini greenhouse. The plastic joints are mostly UV destroyed but the metal poles are quite useful.

Sunday 3 February 2013: 5 hours. Bought 31 scaffolding planks (8 ft x 4 ft x 9 inches) for EUR 120 (EUR 4 each). Had the planks delivered to the barn, cut some in half with my jigsaw, then hauled the lot into the garden on the cart.

Between 9-24 March I probably spent about 30 hours at the plot.

Saturday 2 March 2013: This week I went to the plot three times in the morning before work, totaling about 5 hours. On Saturday, the family came and I also spent most of the day when they weren’t there, about 8 hours. We finished the entire East Plot (6 wood boxes, 2 small brick boxes for the boys). We also built 2 wood boxes on the West Plot, and hoed the soil into mounds in the part that won’t be boxed. In the evening, I planted a plum tree (“Czar”) from Kilquade’s Gardenworld.

This will be sweetcorn, a place to experiment with willow, and other such like.

This will be sweetcorn, a place to experiment with willow, and other such like.

Sunday 3 March 2013: I worked compost into the unboxed portion of the West Plot, then rototilled the compost in and re-hoed the beds. I planted 4 blueberry bushes (“Northland”, “Goldtraub”, “Rancocas”, “Duke”), and 2 blackcurrant bushes (“Titania”), all bought at GardenWorld. I also interplanted some sad-looking strawberry plants that I saved from the junk pile.

Berry row

Total purchase of berry bushes and plum tree was EUR 60.

Other purchases yesterday at Country Life in Ashford:

  • Slug pellets
  • Seed potatoes: 2.5kg of Sarpo Mira (blight resistant)
  • Seed potatoes: 2.5kg of Rooster
  • All-year Cabbage mix of seeds: “January King 3”, “Durham Early”, “Greyhound”, “Winnigstadt”
  • Broccoli seeds “Waltham 29”
  • Thyme seeds
  • Dill seeds
  • Onion sets: 100 yellow “Centurion”
  • Onion sets: 100 red “Red Baron”
  • Sweet Pea collection “Charlie’s Angel” (purple), “Daphne” (pink), “Royal Wedding” (white), “Terry Wogan” (light pink)

Total was EUR 60.

The first leaves on the seed lettuce “Salad Bowl” are getting big today, and the marigolds “Scarlet Sophie” began to sprout in their tray (note: the sprout comes from the dark end of the seed, not the dry frayed end; I planted them upside down). The third tray I planted this week with free Tomato seeds “Harbinger”.

Lettuce sprouts 1 March

Other seeds started today:

  • Cabbage “Greyhound”
  • Broccoli “Waltham 29”

We’ve had somewhat sunny days and quite warm all week. The garden has gotten much drier, in fact I watered a few things today as we’ve had no rain for about a week. My plot has water access at both ends, but one side is not working, and the other side leaks constantly. I rigged up some yarn to catch the leak and channel it into a garbage can, which filled up halfway over 24 hours. I need more water storage areas!

I have met a few of the regular allotment holders, most have not been around yet (which is obvious from the condition of some of the plots!) –

  • Keith is my neighbor to the south. His plot is super organized and he also has the most fruit trees of anyone. He lent me some bone meal when I planted my plum tree. He’s been there three years.
  • Donal and his wife have 1.5 plots in the middle of the garden, he is there frequently and I offered the use of my rototiller since I see him digging so often.
  • Eileen is next to Donal, I met her my first weekend and she gave me some parsnip. She’s been here about three years I believe.
  • A woman comes out from Dublin and meets her son here, I don’t remember their names but I have seen them twice and they are always friendly.
  • Two women manage the plot west of Donal’s, again don’t remember names….

The unrented plots have all been dug over, I believe there are 9 free. There are 32 plots total. Season Park Farm started letting allotments for the 2010 season.

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