Its been a glum, grey, drizzly day today, how typical that the one free day that I have this weekend is miserable and the sun is due out for tomorrow. Never mind, it has given me a bit of time to write an update for myself. This year one of my resolutions is to not to start each post exclaiming about how time is flying and how I've not written in a while! I'm afraid my postings may be a little bit sporadic this year but I do want to keep going with my blog as its just a really useful photo diary for me to see how things change at my allotment.
Though it seems like a long time ago now, I had a lovely relaxing Christmas, two blissful weeks of not traveling too far, seeing family and friends, eating lots of nice food, reading a few books and catching up with films and TV. A perfect antidote to all the commuting and busyness that seems to be my life at the moment. But I'm back into the fray much refreshed and very excited about the year ahead.
I've been busy reviewing my 2013 growing season at the allotment and have made plans for this year, the seed is ordered. I'll update in a later post. I'm still waiting for some seed to come back from Marshall's which was a joint order with a few people at the allotment to reduce costs. A big delivery of manure awaits me at the allotment ready for spreading once I've finished sorting my beds out. I've been putting in the last of the paths to split the last big bed on my plot into two. This will organise it better and will make it look much neater. Plus these paths are proving to be a real necessity in this soggy wet winter to enable me to walk round my plot. On two sides at the very edge of my plot are grass paths and these are very slippy and get muddy so quickly but my bark chipping filled paths are a treat.
Then at the bottom of my plot, the last part that I need to work on, I left a strip as a grass path last year but its full of buttercups, so I'm going to dig this strip out and lay another path here so I've got a nice path to my shed. Its taken me a few years to get the structure of the allotment but I'm hoping that I'm nearly there now and it will be so much easier to get things ready for winter next year. The paths mean its easier to get round the plot but they also divide the plots into smaller more manageable areas that you can reach without having to stand on the soil. If anyone is starting an allotment this year I'd really recommend some kind of divisions to your plot. They don't necessarily have to be semi-permanent paths like these, you could just lay down some black weedproof membrane as temporary paths, or just mark out specific beds that you are going to work on. It may sound silly but it also works psychologically. If you have one large expanse that you see every time you go to the allotment, you will often despair at all the work that you have to do, but if you have beds you can just aim to work on one or two at a time and feel great when they are weed free and full of crops. Anything to make life easier for me at the allotment is essential. I used to work 4 days and so I was often able to have 1-2 days at the allotment each week, weather permitting. But now I'm back to 5 days, with doing the training at York Gate, it will be a challenge for me to keep up with the allotment this year so anything to save time will be helpful.
There are plans afoot in my garden too. The base for the greenhouse is ready and so I think maybe tomorrow or next weekend, Martin and his friend Bob will be trying to get the frame together, anyway hopefully it will be up in time for the start of the seed sowing season and this will be a real treat. Once the greenhouse is up I've got other plans to try and get my back garden a bit more organised and neater. I've currently have 4 of the plastic tiered greenhouses a couple of which are looking tatty so I'll use half of the racks in my new greenhouse until I can get proper staging. So this will tidy the garden straight away. Its fair to say my back garden was a bit of a disaster-zone last year as it was a difficult year, with one thing and another, and any gardening time I had was concentrated on my allotment. But I want to fall in love with it again and be proud. Overall I want to simplify it, I think my plant enthusiasm overides common sense a lot of the time, and I don't plan what I'm going to buy and plant. This has resulted, if I'm brutally honest, with a mish-mash style in the back. I have far too many pots and not good structure. My front garden is better as for that I have had more of a theme with dark-coloured foliage and overall pinks and purples for the flowers, with the odd splash of orange, all set round a circular patio. Though this needs tweaking each year, overall it works. So I need a theme for my back garden and I want to simplify the plants. So that's what I'm working on now. To make a start at tidying I've got a row of three big laurel bushes down the side of my house next to the fence and they grow so quickly and easily get out of hand, I'm going to cut down at least two, maybe all of them, we'll see how exposed it makes the back garden. Its very dark and shady here so not much will grow here anyway so the plan is to have a space for the wheelie bins and general garden bits and pieces. This will just generally tidy the garden and improve space. Anyway those are the plans we'll see if they come together....