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Still Digging (Part 11)!!
Fait Accompli

Starlings murmuring
A Murmuring of Starlings
 I'm sure I heard a distinct sigh of relief from my garden fork at 2-30 p.m. last Friday, as I turned the last fork full of soil on the central bed of N2 Plot, thus completing the Dandelion clearing, hopefully for the foreseeable future. I first started clearing this bed last October and I can honestly say it will be the last time I attempt to clear such a badly weed infested allotment area by digging it over. Some unforeseen delays and of course delays caused by our Winter weather didn't help the cause but now I have a full bed of main crop Potatoes planted where there was once only Dandelions and a few other perennial weeds. One advantage of the cold Winter and so far Spring, has been the lack of germination of weeds on the rest of my plots, whilst I have been working on N2 Plot. Although it looks as though Spring has finally arrived here in Somerset I decided to erect a poly tunnel at the weekend. If future Winters and Springs are to be as cold as this years, then a poly tunnel seems to be an essential piece of kit to have. I erected the tunnel at the top end of the last bed on N2 Plot to be cleared of weeds, so I can clear some of the ground under cover, if the weather is wet or cold. My earlier published allotment growing plans have now gone out of the window for N2 Plot.

"You fight dandelions all weekend, and late Monday afternoon there they are, pert as all get out, in full and gorgeous bloom, pretty as can be, thriving as only dandelions can in the face of adversity."
 ( Hal Borland )

Central Bed N2 Plot Finally Finished
Central Bed N2 Plot Finally Cleared and Spuds Planted
 The only outside sowing that has been done so far, due to the cold weather, is Peas, a month ago, which after being kept under cloches, finally germinated this week. I planted about 100 Onion sets last month, which were a mix of Snowball and Sturion. They are currently showing slight signs of development. Parsnips seeds were sown on Plot N1 yesterday and today I added some Iris's and Gladioli to the L-shaped bed on N1 Plot.

Poly Tunnel Being Erected
Erecting the Poly Tunnel

Poly Tunnel Seen from Allotment Road
 In the past week it has been nice to see more wild birds in attendance rather than the usual Wood Pigeons. Robins, Blackbirds, Goldfinches, Sparrows and Magpies have all been out in force. 2 Blackbirds in particular have been following me around the areas being dug, foraging for food. One of the Blackbirds even followed me inside the poly tunnel and inspected the soil which had been disturbed in there.

Blackbird in Poly Tunnel
Blackbird Inspecting the Poly Tunnel
 With no rain for the past few weeks the soil has dried out well and with heavy overnight frosts, almost every night up until last weekend, it is in good condition ready for sowing and planting now. Dare I say it, just a little rain is needed to make it perfect.

There's Always Tomorrow??


  1. Looks as if you will have a lot of spuds, Rooko. Will that be a year's supply for you? I hope the polytunnel will prove to be robust. If our winters are going to be as bad as we had this last year, then it will probably turn out to have been a wise investment. Even though I don't have an allotment, I'm tempted by the prospect of getting a polytunnel. Could you tell us where you got yours from - and whether you would recommend it to others?

    1. Hi Mark, The spuds should be about a years supply for me. I've just finished the final bag from last years crop. As for the poly tunnel, I think the covering is as strong as the large professional tunnels, although the week point is probably the zips on the door. One of mine was jammed on receipt so I've stitched one side of the door up. The frame work is meant to stand on level ground so it will have to be held down with stakes inside after the flaps on the outside of the base have been buried in trenches, around the outside of the frame. I would recommend it as a cheaper alternative to the big tunnels especially in a garden. It would be easier to erect with 2 people or more doing it. I bought mine on E-bay for under £50 this is the link.

  2. HURRAH the moment we have all been waiting for - the last dandelion being removed. Well done Rooko it seems to have taken forever to get this plot right. Of course if you had had your wits about you you could have used the dandelions as a crop and sold the leaves to supermarkets and made a fortune. Too late now lol. Love your new polytunnel - how do you secure it to the ground so it doesn't blow away?

    1. It felt like forever, especially in those cold easterly winds. Someone suggested using the Dandelions for wine. I've got everything that was removed from that bed piled up along the drainage ditch bank. The heap is about 30 foot long by 3 foot wide by about 3 foot high. I'll photograph it later. The poly tunnel cover has flaps around the bottom edges. After it is stretched over the framework the flaps go into trenches on the outside of the framework and the trenches are re-filled with soil over the flaps. I have also strengthened the legs of the framework with posts driven into the ground and tied with plastic straps.

  3. I bet you were as relieved as you fork! Hope that the blackbird escaped safely.

    1. I'm really glad to be finished clearing that particular bed, just one more to clear which is not as big. The Blackbird was O.K. he flew off after I held the door open. He was back down the plot again today pulling my Onions up.

    2. Wow,lots of potatoes.I like the way that you have earthed them up.
      Have been thinking about a small polytunnel and have seen something similar locally.
      I'd need to secure it down in the wind.What sort of supporting posts have you used?

    3. Hi Shinny, The earthing up was the laborious part of the spud planting but worth it to keep the tubers fully covered later. I used a couple of tree stakes on the 2 rear legs, cut to length, hammered into the soil, tied with plastic ties and taped to the aluminium legs of the tunnel framework. The remainder of the supports were lengths of drainage rods, some type of plastic, with metal at one end, no chance of these rotting off in the soil. It might also be advisable to tape all the frame joints with duct tape to strengthen the joints and make the framework more rigid.

  4. Your plot looks fantastic and your potatoes

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There's Always Tomorrow!!