Tackling A Problem Area On Plot Four (Part One)

I took over my fourth plot at the beginning of 2012, as it became free.  This plot was next to my other three plots and I’ve got to say I really wasn’t sure I wanted another plot, but it had the advantage of a polytunnel (which was only four years old at the time) and some wonderful fruit trees at the back.

(Just in case you are wondering, all over the country there are waiting lists for allotments, but where I live, there are always some available to rent, so I don’t feel guilty for having four plots).

Below are some photos from when I first took the plot, in January 2012:

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As you can see there was a lot to be done.

I have worked really hard on this plot over the last two years and most areas are coming along nicely.  There isn’t lots of growing space on this plot due to the trees and I have found that, as it has developed over the past two years, it has become my ‘pleasure plot’.

  I now have an area under my large plum tree that I call my ‘woodland area’, where I planted lots of spring bulbs.  In fact, you may remember me planting lots of snow drops in this area to remember my dear friend that passed away in February last year. I also recently transplanted lots of for-get-me-nots in her honour too.

  During the last year I have transplanted lots of surplus plants from my garden at home and from around my other plots and I am gradually filling the area with beautiful perennials.

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In September last year I also moved my small pond to a well lit corner in this area and transplanted aubrietia all around it, so hopefully this will look beautiful in the Spring too.

So overall, this area is becoming a beautiful, peaceful place, where I now walk past and remember my old dear friend.

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At the front of my fourth plot is a small area which I have given to my dad to look after.

For those who are new to my blog, my dad had his own allotment for many years, but sadly age caught up with him and a full plot became far too much to manage.  Not long after taking on my fourth plot, he asked if he could possibly have a small part of it to look after and I thought this was a great idea, as I can make sure he doesn’t do too much.

 April 2012

Last winter I laid two woodchip paths either side of my dads area and I brought our old garden chair from our back garden at home.  I put the chair in a small area next to my dads patch, so he can sit down when he is tired.  I also made a little table out of bricks and an old piece of crazy paving, so he now has somewhere to put his flask of coffee when he sits down.

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  I absolutely love spending time with my dad at my allotment.

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The area at the back of this plot is great.  I have two apple trees (an early and late variety), a golden gage tree (which make delicious jam) and a pear tree.  I have also inherited a row of worcester berries.

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This area just needs mowing each week and it’s a lovely shady place to sit in when the weather is too hot and it’s time for a rest.

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In 2012 when I first took the plot over, there were two sheds that stood in the middle.

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I already had a shed on my first plot, so I gave one of the sheds to my sister who also took on the plot next to mine and I gave the other one to one of my friends at my allotment site as he didn’t have a shed.

This area had terrible soil on so for the last two years I have used this area as my wildflower area, with fantastic results:

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I also have an area where I have inherited some summer raspberries.  This area had couch grass growing all through the raspberries and in between the rows, so it was a hard area to tame.

I started by covering as much of the area in between with weed suppressant and left this down for a season to kill the couch grass.  I have spent two years now pulling up the couch grass from underneath the raspberries, in the hope that it will eventually weaken and die.  I certainly have an awful lot less of it now, but I still have a long way to go with it.

I then prepared the area in between the raspberries and sowed grass seed in Autumn 2012 and by Spring 2013 I had a much better, uninvasive lawn in between the plants:

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And then I also have my wonderful polytunnel.  Inside the tunnel was great when I took it over and I just added compost to the beds before planting.

My polytunnel is really my pride and joy on this fourth plot and it’s the main reason for taking this plot on.  I have had so many crops from it in the last two years, but it is particularly brilliant for overwintering salad crops.

I wrote about my first year in my polytunnel here if you are interested.

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So, my fourth plot has been hard work so far, but it is beginning to come together, though it is far from complete.

I have one more area that I have been working on over the last few months (in between other jobs)….it is the area outside of my polytunnel.  This area has bugged me for the last two years as it was a mixture of crazy paving, mowed couch grass, slabs (of different shapes and sizes) and some little round pebbles which I have slipped on various times and nearly injured myself.

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There is also a row of blackberries which I have recently cut back.

This area is also plagued with ‘horsetail’ (Equisetum arvense), which is incidentally a fasinating weed… It has descendants (a group of ancient tree like plants) that thrived 300 million years ago. Fossil evidence has been found that shows some of it’s ancestors reached over thirty metres in height (you can read about it here).  But this explains why this weed is so difficult to eradicate, as it’s been around so long and also it’s roots go very deep into the soil, in fact several meters down. It likes moist clay soil and thrives in these conditions, which is exactly why this area outside of my polytunnel is perfect for it.

So I have spent two years weeding and weeding between the slabs and crazy paving and I decided enough is enough and it was time to do something about this area….

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As this has turned into a very long post I have decided to continue telling you about this area and what I have done with it, on Friday.

So have a good week and thank you for reading my blog today.

I will be back at my usual time on Friday.

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18 thoughts on “Tackling A Problem Area On Plot Four (Part One)

  1. Fantastic work: well done you.
    I love the idea (and the photos) of the wild-life area, the chair and somewhere to put your coffee!).
    Now we just await the dry weather eh?

  2. It’s very much a family affair for you isn’t it? When we took our last plot it was just an overgrown jungle of perennial weeds about 6 feet high. We took on our fourth plot because we knew there were fruit trees and bushes to discover there.

    Love the are under the trees, We have grass under our plum trees but nothing as grand looking as yours.

  3. Wow the work you have done on plot four is amazing, it is looking so good, and lovely you and your dad can grow there together, looking forward to hearing what you have done to the area near the poly tunnel.
    Sue

  4. You always amaze me with your energy as you cultivate your four allotments. I love how you fill your land with interesting spaces. And it’s lovely that you can share it with your father. Wonderful.
    Thank you for leaving a message on my blog. I have been away from “blogland” since last October as we have had a very hot dry summer here in Brisbane and I’ve just left my allotment fallow, covered in a straw mulch to keep weeds at bay. So there hasn’t been much to write about. We are desperate for a decent downpour of rain here, either way, our main planting of the year begins in March. By then the worst of the summer heat will be over and it’s a time of plenty in the veggie patch during our winter. I was born in the UK but have lived in OZ for over 30 years and it still feels as if I’m living “upside down” with our seasons. Ha ha.

  5. I just popped over from Allotments4all . I love what you have done for your pa..and especially love the mug,n,flask rest..brilliant ! I will be popping in again from time to time to wander about your vegetable garden : )

  6. You have come so far! Its like you’ved waved a wand over it and make it beautiful. Naturally its been ever so slightly more involved than that but still….

  7. I’ve found this post so inspirational. I love seeing all of the very hard work you’ve put in, and the wonderful results. I’m really envying you your polytunnel! Waiting to see what you do about the horsetail – I have a little bit of it at my allotment too.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post. Horsetail really is a horrible weed to get rid of. If it is where you want to grow your veg then the only thing to do is keep hoeing it every week and eventually it will give up and die. You can use glyphosate to kill it but it is a nightmare to do, as horsetail has a protective coat which you need to bruise before you apply the glyphosate and this takes ages to do.

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