I should know better, but truthfully I’ll probably never learn. As I was heading to the allotment this morning, I thought to myself “everyone says gardening is really hard work, but so far it’s been okay”. I know, i’m delusional. It was a pretty cold start today, and I had to scrape the car for the 6th time this week. I reached the allotment and as I walked along the grass paths in amongst the other plots towards mine, I noticed that for the first time since I took over the plot in November, the ground was hard. Really hard. Hmmm.
Last week I managed to dig over two small beds, one of which had lots of dead and dying plants (herbs I think), and the other which wasn’t too bad to begin with. The soil was really soft and crumbly, so turning it over did not involved substantial amounts of effort. Clearly I had just been lulled into a false sense of security; today the soil felt rock hard. Time to eat some humble pie.
My aim for today was to turn over the slightly larger of the remaining beds in the small section I’d worked on the week before. There was a long piece of thick wood running the length of the bed effectively splitting it in two, but as soon as I realised it wasn’t as securely fixed into the ground as I had first thought, I removed it so I could get at the weeds that were clearly growing under the wood from the adjacent bed. Once i’d removed it I knew I couldn’t just leave the other area un-weeded, so I did the lot. It was definitely harder work to dig it all up and turn it over this week, and I found myself battering massive clumps of soil off the side of the bed because I couldn’t get the fork through them. Unexpectedly I also dug up a few potatoes! I’ve no idea how long they’ve been there, and was actually surprised they were intact and not rotted. They were pretty rock hard through so I chucked them on to the compost heap.
I’ve had a pretty sore lower back for the last couple of weeks, so I was careful not to twist too much while reaching for roots, and happily it seems to be fine. In fact being active is helping it. I can’t tell you how much I’m loving having the allotment and working my way around it trying to sort it out bit by bit. There is something immensely satisfying about the feel of pulling long roots from the soil, which is just as well as I think I’ll be doing a lot of that over the coming months 😀
So another successful day at the allotment, and I’m pretty pleased with the progress so far. Here’s how it looks now (the main beds anyway) after a couple of weekends of digging.
Last week before (above) and after (below)
This is how it looks today 😀