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The Plot Thickens

With most of my Summer crops harvested, used, languishing in my freezer or better still in their final stages of development, it was time, last week, to take on the mammoth task of clearing the drainage ditch bank of vegetation before the Winter rains?? set in. The drainage ditch runs past the lower end of my plots with a large hedgerow well established on the opposite bank. This area behind my fruit trees gets overgrown with many wild plants and weeds. Some of the annoying ones being, brambles, bindweed, couch grass, dandelions, creeping clover, docks and nettles. Left to their own devices a combination of these "weeds" would quickly invade the lower reaches of my plots. Although the drainage ditch is almost devoid of water at present, when it is flowing it runs from west to east along the ditch. At present another invasive plant is making its way towards my plots, following the same direction as the water would, and will soon become a problem if not kept in check, (the dreaded mares tail).

Drainage Ditch Vegetation
Drainage Ditch Lower End of N2 Looking East (Uncleared) Sept 2014
Starting last weekend I began by pruning back the larger bushes, trees and brambles on the far bank, using a telescopic pruner to reach across the ditch. The ground level vegetation on both banks was then raked loose and bagged off into potato sacks and other containers for disposal. The mainly larger wild plants/flowers were left intact apart for trimming their foliage back somewhat, using garden shears. After 3 days work, the banks and bottom of the ditch were clear of weeds, cuttings and debris. A couple of years ago consignments of animal manure to our allotments was found to be contaminated with pesticides. Since then, finding a regular source of manure has been hit and miss. Taking this into consideration I decided to clear out the humus rich mud from the bottom of the drainage ditch and deposit it onto my vegetable beds, in lieu of manure, as well as keeping the ditch clear for water to run off from. Using a walking board on top of the thick black mud I began to dig it out, starting work last Monday.

Digging Out the Mud
Vegetation Cleared Mud Digging Started Below N1 Plot Sept 2014

Digging Out the Mud Sept 2014

Walking Board Sinking in the Mud Sept 2014

Mud Dug Out
Mud Removed Lower End of N1 Plot Sept 2014

Mud Spread on Vegetable Beds
1st 4 Barrow Loads of Mud on No1 Bed N1 Plot Sept 2014
 Once the vegetation had been removed the full width of the ditch was about 1 and a half meters with the useable mud being about half a meter deep, thick black and very smelly due to its high nitrogen content from rotting vegetation. Each spadeful had to be wrenched out and thrown up the bank into my wheelbarrow. With the mud sticking to just about everything it came into contact with, progress was slow but to date I have completed approximately 10 meters along the length of the ditch.
Its now Sunday afternoon 28th September 2014 and clearing of the drainage ditch has finally been achieved.

Ditch Cleared
Drainage Ditch Clearing Finished 28 Sept 14 Photographed East to West From Lower End of N2 Plot
The Marrows Kept On Growing Whilst I Worked In The Ditch Sept 2014

 There's always tomorrow!!


  1. With all the hard physical work you do, I imagine you must be a pretty fit person with big muscles!!

  2. One reason I do a lot of physical work is to keep myself mobile due to osteo-arthritis, otherwise I would seize up. Upper body not too bad but hips and legs are hopeless.

  3. What a job! I'm glad it is something we don't have to worry about

    1. Indeed Sue, have you ever started one of those jobs you wish you hadn't. This is one of them. Up until a while ago our council used to clear the ditches but since more plots were created its difficult to access the areas now with diggers etc.

    2. Our council have kept cutting back on any plot work or any plot provision such as skips too

  4. Such a hard work! Digging day always be a tiring day for me.

    1. Yes Endah, I don't particularly like doing a lot of digging and the weather has been very warm here too but the task is finished now, thankfully.


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