This weekend we met up with one of the more experienced allotment gardeners in our allotment society: Mr O. He has been cultivating his plot for the past 9-10 years and was recommended to us to help clear and prepare our plot. It was fantastic to get advise from someone with experience as opposed to us beginners. It turned out to be a very valuable crash course to allotment gardening.
Mr O was telling us about the state our plot has been in the past 5 years. Long Rye Grass reaching 1.5 m in height that has been spreading thousands of seeds to the neighbouring plots. It must have been a nightmare for the neighbours. On the positive side, Mr O said that our plot is one of the best amongst all the plots in this allotment society and that the soil is top quality.
On the down side Mr O told us that what we had dug so far would not kill off the remaining seeds and that we needed to get down to the yellow clay layer deep beneath. He showed us exactly how it is done and it is looking like quite a job to get on with. We have decided to hire his services to help dig it over thoroughly in order to get it ready in time for planting. It may seem like a short cut to get to where we need but better to get some help and get it right rather than having to start all over a few months down the line.
Unless we get too much snow this coming week, then the plot should be completely dug over by next weeken. Then we will cover it with a layer of compost. Mr O reckons that by mid March, the plot should be in a good enough state for us to start planting on.
And the best thing of yesterday's meeting with Mr O, was the potatoes and turnips he sent us home with. It was from his own harvest back in October. The turnips were the biggest we have ever seen and the potatoes really large and firm and perfect for baking in the oven. A much appreciated treat!