We seem to be real jammy at the moment.
A couple of weeks ago we excitedly began to dig our plot.The soil was heavy clay – nothing new in allotment land! It thankfully wasn’t too wet as it had been covered in plastic. Most people may have left the sheeting on the ground until more suitable conditions prevailed and to ensure all weeds were dead- not us -we have big plans and the overwhelming surges of exitement coursing through out veins meant that we would not and could not wait, we were gonna go for it. Both of us are used to physical labour and are fairly fit. So we were going to do it ‘properly’ – only double digging and carting loads of our lovely muck about in a wheelbarrows would do for our top quality allotment.
So day 1, in around 3 hours we managed to dig about four feet. Slightly well, depressing, actually. But our resolve remained and although in many ways we couldn’t be arsed, we stubbornly held on to the feelings of determination and excitement – we could do this. The thought of not having our plot at least semi up and running for the coming season was therefore not entertained.
A few people said to us ‘oh you don’t wanna do it like that – you wanna get a rotavator in’. To which we responded by politely nodding and later commenting ‘what philistines – don’t they know nothing about soil structure, soil pans or the wrongness of chopping up worms. Don’t they know proper gardening. TUT!
Anyways, so one of me mates was doing work on this house and they were hiring a rotavator for 7 days and didn’t need it for one of them. Would we like to borrow it – you’ll have that plot of yours done in no time. Oh yes please, how very kind of you, thank you so much. Besides if you chop up a worm, that makes two worms – right? and more worms is good.
What a funny little machine a rotavator is. Jumping and bobbling and lurching about. I’ve seen those fellows who have competitions with them – a very skilled sport/job for sure. As time went on we learnt how to soothe and tame the beast. Then disaster struck the ruddy chopper blade thing fell off. We searched the plot for the missing pin, which had pinged off somewhere, never to be found again. As we sat gazing at the unfinished plot, despondency started to kick in and there were some murmurings about actually having to leave the plot to procure a replacement pin. We sat contemplating the utter crapness of the situation, half angrily and half mournfully slurping down our coffee. Then it hit us – plastic ties – they had rescued us when the compost bins had looked absolutely doomed – surely not again. Funny enough it worked and the rotavotor chugged into action again and our plot was done in about four hours – woo hoo!
This is good enough for us for the first year. We are now waiting for a bit of weathering and frost-thaw action. I have never felt excitement about the prospect of frost before and have felt quite miserable and lethargic this time of year most years for way too long. So not feeling yucky is exciting too if you see what I mean.
We will dig in the autumn each year, as much as we can until we can dig no longer.
We will penetrate that hard soil pan that we know is really only a few inches below. In the mean-time we will create raised beds mixing in our out well-rotted manure. Eventually we will use the no-dig system – no it is not lazy that’s proper gardening! TUT
So rotavators not ideal in our opinion, what with us being staunch traditionalists and all that. Cor its nice to be pushing forward with things….