This has been a rather busy week; I have neglected the orchard plot for quite a while, so it was time to roll up the sleeves and get busy. Urgently required, vegetable beds so the seed potatoes and, shallot and onion sets can finally be planted.
Below is the orchard plot in March 2013, shortly after we aquired it…. it needed work.
Pretty isn’t it!
The plot was partially covered with carpet and underlay by the previous tenants and there were weeds galore. We were initially pleased to see the plot partially covered, thinking it would reduce the number of weeds needing to be dug out…. but we were WRONG!
We found this underneath…
There were literally metres and metres of bindweed root running across the soil. This plot hadn’t been touched in years and it was certainly going to be a challenge to get the plot cleared and prepared sufficiently to be able to grow vegetables on.
Given the amount of work to be done, we decided to prepare this plot in stages. Our plan was to clear and cultivate the right hand side of the plot in year one. Over the past year, this section has been dug over four times. It’s been a painstakingly slow process as we have been removing the couch weed and bindweed roots by hand. Whilst not completely weed free, the amount of weeds reappearing is greatly reduced.
After the final dig of the season, last November, the bare soil was covered for the winter. This was to help prevent the leaching of the soils nutrients due to rain, and to help keep the soil weed free.
So, this week, I pulled away the covering to reveal a predominantly weed free ground. I was thrilled. I have been busily digging, still removing the odd weed and roots, and we are now ready to plant our seed potatoes, which are chitting themselves at home.
I created three large vegetable beds, one for potatoes, one for alliums and one for either legumes or brassicas. Not decided yet…
The plot now looks like this. It’s been a hard but very rewarding weeks work.