When the sun shines, it makes me want to get down to the allotment. The problem is that in early/mid March the sunshine can fool you into thinking that spring has truly sprung but (even though the meteorologists may say different) its really still late winter.
However, there are things that do need to be done so off I went.
The most useful thing that I managed to do was to empty the compost heap. I work on a “three bin” system, “one to fill”, “one to empty” and “one to sit”. Each bin is made up of four pallets tied together with baler twine. The benefit of this system is that to empty them you just untie the front pallet and dig away and any bits that aren’t fit to go onto the allotment beds can go back into the “one to fill”. When the “one to fill” is full, you turn it over into the “one to sit” until that one is full when it sits until the start of the next year. During the year everything (yes even the perennial weeds & sticks) goes into the “one to fill” because turning it over breaks up the soil, weeds & sticks and sorting it as you empty it gives you another chance to get it composted.
My experience is that by the time it comes round to being the “one to empty”, its had a good twelve months of composting and so you end up with a friable mix of soil & compost which spreads well onto the beds and improves the quality of the soil.
In previous years I’ve also spent money on mushroom compost but, the source of mushroom compost has ceased because they can’t compete with mushrooms from Poland. So I’m going to have to find something else.
Anyway, digging out the compost was satisfying and more exercise than going to the gym. Once I’d completed that, I checked on the Autumn Fruited Raspberries which I put in last year, cutting off the remaining stems to clear the way for the new growth which is just beginning to show. I cut most of the growth off at the end of last year so that the wind and weather wouldn’t damage the roots of the plants. I’ll need to take something to mulch around the roots to stop the weeds and keep the roots protected through the year, possibly some leafmould or garden compost from home. (The compost at home is done on the same principle as the allotment compost but consists of more shredded woody shrubs and growbags from the greenhouse than soil and weeds so its lighter than the allotment compost).
Finally I inspected the Garlic (growing well) and the overwintered Broad Beans (not so good, the winter has been a bit hard on them this year but, they can stay in and provide green manure if they’re no good for beans).
Then it was off back home and time to sow some lettuces and brassicas to stop my fingers itching to do more that I shouldn’t.