The rain is relentless. The allotment has been waterlogged for most of February. A fellow plot holder told me the section of the allotment I had started digging had never been dug by the previous allotment holder (or holders, it belonged to a housing association who didn’t grow anything and used it to compost grass).
They did rotavate the rest of the plot a few times last year. They rotavated bindweed, marestail, couch grass, dandelions and thistles. I had hoped that digging would get easier but instead, I was met with a thick mat of perennial roots. I was digging out roughly a carrier bag full every few square feet. Every tiny bit they had chopped up had grown into its own new plant.
The black stuff.
I had hoped to avoid covering the ground with plastic. We brought cardboard boxes from our house move but they have disintegrated with the wind and floodwater. A closer inspection last week told me that I had dandelion coming back to life everywhere. Some from old roots that had sprung back to life, some from young seed roots. I thought I would spot dig the worst bits but the mat of other weeds tangled in meant that it was no easy task.
We opted for the last resort – weed membrane. It means I can ignore the unworked ground behind me, without it being weed-infested, and concentrate on the section I have prepared ready for planting this year.
I am ready to admit we looked absolutely crazy pegging the weed membrane into place. On a windy day, pegging the membrane through the 4 inches of water into the ground below! The water was higher than my short wellies and my socks didn’t stay dry very long! The weed membrane nearly took off like a kite, and we had to get all four children to stand and help pin it in place while we straighten and secured with metal pins. Let’s just say it was an experience.
We also took down sections of the old compost bin to help pin the membrane in place. We are building a new compost bin from some old pallet wood at home, and I can’t wait to get it in place. It does make the area look really untidy for now, but it won’t be long before we transform the space and it looks completely different.
We have big plans to paint the shed, the same colour we are planting the compost bins we are building at home – a beautiful cornflower blue colour. The weather has other ideas, and it needs to be at least 10 degrees & dry to paint! You can see one coat of the tester colour to the right of the shed door, its a lot bluer and more vibrant with a few coats.