Friday, July 24, 2015
Pig Sty Avenue v2.0
The photo is facing south, from the bottom of the allotment. At the moment, I've only got a half-plot, to the left of the photo. It was all weeds a few weeks ago, and now it's dug over and seeded with phacelia. There are fruit bushes (blackcurrants, redcurrant, gooseberries) along the left hand margin. These were grotesquely overgrown, coming half way across the main bed almost, and I had to cut them right back, sacrificing lots of fruit in the process. There are two rows of bushes, the ones you can see, and another row behind them. The plan is to move all the bushes from the front row elsewhere, and cut the back row right down to incorporate them into the hedgerow, which will follow that line.
The tree you can see on the left is a cherry - actually there are two of them. They've gone feral, most of the cherries are 30ft high, food for the wood pigeons, which I'm beginning to regard as allotment gangsters, robbing everything in sight, and having noisy parties. So I'm going to coppice the cherry trees, and they'll grow back as part of the hedgerow. I should do that now, apparently, because later pruning can lead to silver leaf disease, but I'm pretty sure there are birds nesting there, and I've already disturbed two nests, a wren's and a dunnock's, amongst the tall nettles, and I don't want to disturb any more, so I'm going to wait and risk that - I'll do it as soon as the leaves start to turn, and I'm sure there are no nests there. Besides, I don't know if the advice about pruning applies to coppicing - perhaps not, as the growth will be totally new. We shall see. They're no bloody good as they stand, and they're blocking out too much light.
The big pile standing on the left is the weeds I've dug up, and the fruit bush cuttings. I've to go through that soon, separate out the wood (and put it into a woodpile), and hot-compost everything else (and hopefully kill any seeds in it). The bits of dressed but rotten timber there are the tip of an iceberg - there must be a ton of it around the allotment. I've tried burning it in the cages you can see to the right of the path, but it's very slow and produces a lot of smoke because the wood's so wet and rotten. I have a feeling I pissed off my neighbours with this last weekend. So all rotten but dressed/treated wood is going into a pile, and then a bonfire on November 5th, when no-one will notice.
The path is wonky, and needs straightened. And the right hand side, that's another story...