Thursday, August 10, 2017

Billhook Therapy and then Revisiting the Hedgerow

Weeds have grown on the unriddled section of the 5th bed. There's a patch of borage and poppy which I'm happy to leave for now, but the rest were real weeds, which needed dealt with before they went to seed. So I set about them with the billhook. More satisfying than a punchbag in a gym, by far.

Then to a more peaceful pursuit. When I potted on the gorse plants from modules, I put a dozen or so into the heavy plastic fish basket, and the rest near the edge of the 4th bed, where they've since been overwhelmed by the comfrey on one side, the field beans on the other. The comfrey I want for compost, and the seed pods on the field beans are at last beginning to dry-out and blacken, ready to harvest. So the gorse needs moved out of the way.

I weeded each pot, and chopped the tips off each gorse plant. The tips are new and soft, which made me wonder, are they food for deer?  If that's so, trimming the tips would be part and parcel of how they grow in nature. I got a dozen or so pots dealt with, as well as four buckets each with a few brambles growing.

Here they are sitting along the Southern edge of the 5th bed, the riddled part - I might as well be using it for something. The gorse will be planted out in a staggered row along the Eastern edge of the 5th bed. The brambles on the other side of the plot, the Western edge of Bed No. 1; that's because there are already brambles growing there, (which I will dig out and move as part of the riddling process), and I'm aware of the possibility of replant disorder.

That's been two short visits to the plot this week, and I might get another tonight. Cheered me up no end. With summer just past its peak, I've just about managed the weeds. The riddling is taking much longer than expected, but it progresses. I can begin to see things shaping up: the line of the hedge, the base for the shed; the bulrushes drawing the eye up out of the weedy pond.

It will be done this winter. And next year, I'll just be gardening: sowing, planting out, weeding, harvesting. A piece of cake after nearly three years of hard graft. See, the chances of anyone getting to the top of a waiting list and then walking onto a fully functional allotment are remote in the extreme, lottery-win odds.

That's because most plots will have been in slow decline as their holder aged, (as mine was), or they will have been through the hands of a series of easily discouraged plotholders who've given up after a few months, but left the plot to its own devices for the best part of the year, as it's usual to rent them for a year in advance.

I bear in mind that this plot has been in existence 100 years, and I've been thinking about getting a plot of my own for more than 20 years. Now, here we are, five good beds of free-draining but moisture retentive soil; a pond; a shed; a polytunnel; a hedgerow; space to grow what I want, and to one day have chickens and bees. All of this a matter of months away.