Courtyard Gardener’s Allotment : Raising Veg #courtyardgarden #allotments @mishaherwin @BarryLillie @-jackless @KTScribbles

Today was all about raising veg – or to be more precise installing more raised beds. We found a company online that had scaffold board thickness raised bed kits for a very good price and ordered four. They are good, substantial boards and very heavy. So first thing to note  – when loading them into the back of the car to take them to the allotment? Mind your fingers! I didn’t…

Injuries aside, it was a good morning’s work to assemble the kits.

Because they were so substantial we were able to assemble as a stack (easier on back and knees). The finished beds are 8 x 4 feet and quite deep.

Peter did most of the assembly while I made sure the ground was levelled and the outlines scored into the soil so that the finished beds would sit (more or less) level, and in line with the existing raised beds.

As the tomato growing ‘tent’ was a dismal failure (the frame poles were far to slender and buckled in the gales), we cut the plastic cover up and used it as a ‘membrane’ between the beds on which to spread bark chippings.

This will need a few drainage holes poked into them I suspect, but a satisfying way to use something that would otherwise be wasted.

The ‘tent’ poles will be used to makes net frames to go over the beds.

Already have some strawberries in one bed. The other three will have sown with ‘green manure seeds’ for the winter and filled properly with top soil and compost in the spring. (Though the spent compost from the tomatoes etc will probably go in there.)

We now have eight raised beds, which is plenty for our needs. Not much in the old beds at the moment other than the remains of the purple broccoli (not shown) in one, some savoy cabbage in another and some winter planting of leeks and broad beans in the third and a few reluctant garlic bulbs in the fourth.

I put up a temp net but may start with something more substantial to protect my newly planted broad beans from the ravenous pigeons that decimate all things green – unless its horse tail, plantain or creeping jenny, naturally…

Note how much thinner the boards are on the older raised beds. I suspect they will not last as long!

Next jobs are to clear away the runner bean plants now that we have picked the last few, and to prune the fruit bushes.

Sadly very few apples this year due to rat depredation. Varmints chew lumps out of each fruit, rendering them inedible but wasting most of the crop. We lost ALL of our sweetcorn to them this year. The whole site has had problems with rats this year and we’re waiting for the council pest control team to come and deal with them.

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