Wulf's Webden

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First bed

At some point, the frequency of allotment related posts will dwindle but it is the big new thing I am up to at the moment and there are a lot of firsts to celebrate. On Thursday, it was the first turn of the compost heap and today it is the first growing bed set up. No pictures, I’m afraid, but I’ll give a brief pen portrait.

I’m using a ‘cold frame’ structure that I’ve had for several years – fairly flimsy metal pipes and plastic connectors but it has worked for enough years to me to count it as worthwhile (and to have forgotten how much it cost!). For colder periods, we’ve still got the original plastic cover, holding up okay although the zips have needed a little bit of repair. In warmer months, we replace that with a netting cover and that’s what is in place now.

The ground underneath has been weeded, included rooting out all the deep-rooted perennials and annuals I could find, and I’ve sieved the soil from the top layer to remove the stones. Over that, I’ve put a layer of newspaper (about four sheets worth with wide overlaps), which will exclude the light. I wetted that down and then added a generous layer of the council compost (two bags gave me an average depth of about 6cm). That has also been soaked and, now the bed has had the netting put on, I’ll leave it for a day or two and then make a start on planting.

That bed is going to be home to my red cabbage plants (‘Kalibos’) so I’ve gone for a fine mesh to keep the butterflies and their caterpillars out. Next up is the bed on the opposite site, which needs a bit more weeding. That is going to have French beans, so a wider netting will suffice.

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