Tag Archives: allotment

A winter of windbreak fencing

One of the things on my list last year was to install windbreak fencing along the East and West borders of our plot. It took a fair while to clear the area, get the poles, get help to place the poles in situ and get the fencing up – several months in fact. Stakes installedErecting East fenceInstalling the fencingWest fence in

We noticed a difference in the level of wind immediately. By October, when we finally got both the East and West fences completed, we could also feel a slight temperature increase inside the plot.

2014-10-18 15.28.04

We have been up there this afternoon starting to dig over the beds (a bit late, I know), and we are so pleased that we invested in the windbreak. Despite several gales over the winter, nothing has been flung into the side of the poly tunnel, and everything seems fairly in tact. Sadly, we have also made it more comfortable for the resident rabbit, but hopefully the dogs will help to persuade our furry visitor that it’s not a safe haven after all.

Windbreak fencing West

You can just about see in this photo that the wind coming up the valley has bent the poles inwards – a strengthening job will be required in the next couple of months. It was expensive – around £200 for the fencing and another £50 for the wooden stakes (we got half and our plot neighbours the other half). They helped us to hammer them all in.

Time to start focusing on our planting plans – and watch the rhubarb grow :-)

Emerging rhubarb

Advertisements

Inspirational planting plans

Some 3 1/2 years ago, I took the boys to visit the Centre for Alternative Technology in the northern reaches of Mid Wales. I had wanted to go for a while, and I have wanted to return ever since – what a fantastic day out.

A chance to see the working of a retired old MS-2 turbine
A chance to see the working of a retired old MS-2 turbine

Built on the site of an old slate quarry, the C.A.T. seeks to put a positive solutions-based approach to reducing our impact on our wonderful planet earth. There are lots of interactive displays and zones to help bring to life issues of sustainability through education and fun. Not only did I find it engaging, the boys did too, and that’s a really important thing in the quest for sustainable living.

Educational displays on composting, including the worm slide that leads to the bowels of the worm's earth
Educational displays on composting, including the worm slide that leads to the bowels of the worm’s earth

I suppose what I remember the most is the organic gardens. Now that I have time to design and implement some changes at the allotment, I looked back through our holiday pictures for inspiration. This photo was the key to my planting plans for 2014.

Companion planting in the organic gardens
Companion planting in the organic gardens: leaf amaranth with poppy ‘Ladybird’ alongside nasturtiums, lettuces and oregano

Co-planting flowers and vegetables as companions will be the main theme in our allotment beds this year, particularly after the Phacelia / Broad bean success last year. And I managed to track down a trusted supplier of edible Amaranth seeds (and Gardener’s World magazine will be shipped with a packet of ladybird poppy seed in next month’s March edition). More about the Real Seed Catalogue tomorrow (also in Wales!) but for now, some lovely pictures from an amazing day out.

Interesting vistas and group planting around every corner
Interesting vistas and group planting around every corner
Advice in action - saving the planet's natural resources
Advice in action – saving the planet’s natural resources
Recycling old materials into ponds and planters
Recycling old materials into ponds and planters
Planters with vegetables in every corner
Planters with vegetables in every corner
Information regarding the food cycle
Information regarding the food cycle
Edibles gardens
Edibles gardens
Creative play facilities for children of all ages
Creative play facilities for children of all ages
Climbing nets on the wooden play course
Climbing nets on the wooden play course

 

"There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience, and that is not learning from experience" Archibald MacLeish
“There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience, and that is not learning from experience” Archibald MacLeish

The aesthetic of growing plants in a multitude of containers and situations might not be to everyone’s taste, but I love it. And it’s been great to see it incorporated in the ‘Veg Street’ community vegetable growing project in a North London borough started by Naomi Schillinger and others. See the book here.