We both had free days today, so we convened at 9am for an early start at the allotment. We wanted to make a good stab at finishing off our fruit area.
Before we got there we needed to pick up some supplies – and of course we didn’t wanna pay for them. Beener is really good at spotting useful things lying around on streets and in skips. By the time I got to her house, she had already spotted a bag of compost (John Innes no less) in a skip, whilst on the school run. However, before we went to scoop that up we asked one of her neighbours if we could have some wood that was lying around in his backyard. He was more than happy for us to take some off his hands.
By the time we got to the allotment we had pulled over several more times as we had also seen some guttering, some useful plastic coated wire and some metal mesh. All of these things were found on the road side, amazing what you can find when you’re walking/driving about if you look (and have no shame!).
We arrived, ready for a hard days graft, when out of no-where we noticed two horses heading towards us. Neither of us have any experiences with horses. They kept following us and it was a scary few minutes until we realised that they were not going to eat us.
The horses are normally in the field next to the allotments. It looked like vandals had kicked down the gates the previous night. We tried to coax them back into their field, but they didn’t respond to the same commands as Beener’s Staffordshire Bull Terriers for some reason. We decided then to give them a taste of their own medicine and ignored them. Finally some local scamps came down proclaiming loudly ‘who the f~~k let them out’. They managed to mend the fence and gate, achieved by nicking some of the wood we’d brought down, when our backs were turned. The little darlings! Oh well easy come, easy go!
We then set about planting up the remaining fruit trees/bushes. We planted up our 2 blueberry bushes, filling our planting holes with ericaceous compost as they prefer an acidic soil. We also planted up out apple tree which we intend to grow as either a cordon/ or espalier, as we don’t fancy being responsible for a massive tree! Finally we sunk the gooseberry bush in the ground. We added well rotted manure and fish, blood and bone to our planting holes and arounnd the bushes/tree, so they should be happy for a while.
We then had several rambling conversations about paths in what used to be the fruit area, but was incerasingly being called ‘The Orchard’. We decided to use the wood we had procured, around the perimeter of the orchard and to create a circular path in the middle of the orchard with various paths leading off from to ensure ease of picking of all the beautiful fruit we will be picking.
There are fruit bushes in there – honest!
We were feeling pretty pleased with ourselves and happy with the look of the orchard as well as the ease of access for cultivation/picking. Then our mate turns up with a load of wood chippings hes got for us and we eagerly applied it to out paths and this is the end result:
We will eventually put a cage of netting over the entire area, so those pesky birds don’t munch all our crop, they can stick to the blackberries in the hedgerows! We will also be putting some annuals in there, as we are very interested in the effects of companion planting and also because we want our allotment to be a place of relaxation and beauty.
After our day up the allotment, we went to our yoga class, so a lovely full-on productive day. However I don’t suppose either of us are good company tonight, not cos we’re dead tired or anything, but because we’re feeling incredibly smug!