I hope you have all had a good gardening year in 2016, for me it’s been exceptionally busy because I took on an allotment plot. I’ve wanted to have a go for years but always had a reason not to.
After some researching on the internet of various ‘no dig’ methods I decided that I would have a go at straw bale gardening. Not a new concept, just not well known.
I also built some raised beds for my growing experiments that I’d planned, some fabric square bags with handles, fermenting buckets; plus a couple of compost bins I made from pallets where I grew a couple of big squash plants.
A friend helped me move an old worn out shed from one plot to mine, all in a rush on a late dull afternoon. Later I set up a polytunnel by myself and up-cycled some pallets into a work bench. The word octopus comes to mind!
I named my plot Bedrock because I wanted to, and set out twenty straw bales to my own plan.
The late spring weather was very cold with sleety showers; temperatures were too uneven for the straw bales to get conditioned properly, a process I had to do with a high nitrogen lawn feed that would quickly decompose them into a fertile growing medium once they had the addition of a balanced feed on the last three days.
Keeping my garden and starting a plot was hard work which meant better time management, prioritising tasks which of course meant that my garden got left behind a little bit, but that was no worry because I’d completed my garden projects before Bedrock with ten minutes a day ‘speed gardening’. That kept it looking good with some time to enjoy it too.
At the beginning Bedrock needed a lot of attention, but in summer things slowed down, the vegetables etc. were growing well including the caterpillars so I was able to spend more time in the garden. It wasn’t long before I was bulb planting after the Harrogate Show, some fencing, adding some bedding dianthus to the little front border, erecting the woodland corner screen and finally leaf clearing.
A new year is about to begin, I’ve learned a lot about vegetable growing sometimes from mistakes and a few crop failures, but not too many thank goodness!
I’m ready to start preparing Bedrock again armed with a little experience and even more enthusiasm.
I’m still checking whose coming up and whose flowering, fruiting or what to do next. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in the garden or at Bedrock there’s always something to learn, to do, to enjoy, to chat about with like minded people, to pull out my creativity, but most of all to fulfil my passion for gardening.
I wish you a very happy new year and enjoy your garden!