Wellington Fields Allotments - Hixon.
Earlier in the year I removed the lawn from my front garden and replaced it with a number of smallish raised flower beds. At the time I knew the soil mixture used to fill the beds would sink as it settled with the effects of the weather on it and from simple compaction, so I told myself that I would have to top up the soil level to keep the beds looking full. Some spent compost from the pots of Tomatoes, Aubergines, etc from my Greenhouse, was spread over the area, but I needed a lot more to put the soil level up to where it needed to be, so I decided to bring some of the soil back from my Allotment Compost Bin where the Turfs from the same front garden had been slowly breaking down since the Spring. It is said that lawn turfs need a year or two to break down properly after which they turn into beautiful, fine, loam. However, a short while ago I turned my Compost heap and found a lot of loose soil at the bottom of the bin, from the crumbling turfs, which, as I turned the heap, went onto the top where it became accessible. So, now, I am in the process of filling numerous buckets with this lovely, loose, fine soil to take back home. Before I started spreading the soil over each of the beds in turn though, I scattered some processed, Chicken manure pellets over them. Most people realise that vegetable growing areas need to be regularly fertilised and some people think about feeding round fruit bushes and even fruit trees, but few people actually think about feeding their flower beds.
growing plants, Herbaceous, flowering plants will perform much better
with an occasional feed be it in the form of a chemical feed like my
Chicken manure pellets, potash, a liquid feed like Sea Weed or Tomato
feed, or a gentler feed in the form of an Autumn, or Spring Mulch of
homemade Compost. Of course apart from feeding the soil, a Mulch will
also act as a soil improver, or conditioner that will put more Humus
into the soil and alter its “Crumb Structure” as well as encouraging
worm activity. With my Front Garden this will help immensely if I do
this after topping up the beds as well as feeding it because, usually,
the soil underneath a lawn is notoriously poor in every way possible.
Often it is simply sub soil that is no good for anything, or else it
consists of long uncultivated, often stoney, poor soil that was put
there by the builders when the house was built. At best it will be
compacted and have a lot of sand mixed in it from when the turf was laid
as many people put down a layer of sand to level the ground before
laying a lawn. Whatever, I add to my garden beds it will all help my
plants to get better established, grow bigger and put on a better show.
One outdoor job that I was particularly pleased to get done was to paint
my Shed. The shed had been on my plot for several years before I took it
over a while ago, but my friend, another plot holder, retained ownership
of it for a couple of years after the plot changed hands. Recently he
bought a new one for his new plot and let me have the full use of his
old one. It was reasonably sound, but needed painting and I thought that
with the onset of Winter I wouldn’t get it done. However, watching the
weather forecasts, as all good gardeners should do, I picked a day that
was forecast to be dry and sunny all day with a dry night to follow and
got the job done. Keeping an eye on weather forecasts either on the TV
or the Internet is often a very useful thing to do for gardeners. Being
forewarned of frosts is obviously needed to protect delicate plants with
Horticultural Fleece in the Autumn and Spring, but also being warned of
coming rain is useful to know when planting. Yes you are always advised
to water freshly planted or sown things, but it is far better to plant
when rain is forecast for a couple of days afterwards rather then when a
hot dry spell is coming.
As always, at this time of year, I am gradually getting all my paths
weeded. Most of the Annual weeds have died, but still need removing to
tidy things up, get rid of seed pods and of course with all the paths
clear of rubbish I can put down a fresh layer of Wood Chip to stop them
getting muddy over Winter. Hopefully, it won’t be long before we can get
some Chippings in as our new storage area is at last nearing completion.
I have been delaying getting any in, because we already have a large
pile of homemade Compost taking up a lot of space on the parking area
and as soon as the purpose built storage area is complete, the Wood chip
can go straight in there.