Wednesday 27 February 2013

Victory Garden - February- Plotting and Planning

Firstly, I wanted to say a huge THANK YOU for all your supportive words in my 'Victory Garden' endeavour. It means more to me than I can say and is certain to help me keep my motivation up over then next few months. What is also wonderful, is that a few of you are creating your own Victory Gardens too! Scrummy veggies for everyone!

I was hoping to have my third morning of allotmenteering (I doubt it's a real word but I'm keeping it) this weekend, but I came down with a case of the lurgy on Friday evening, which meant the thought of dragging my sorry backside, out into the cold morning air, made me feel like sobbing. So instead I decided to give myself an impromptu weekend off from the digging, to have a more relaxing time focusing on some knitting and sewing, all whilst balling my eyes out to the brilliant new series of Call the Midwife on catch up. It was wonderful!

So this is what 7am on a crisp Saturday morning in February looks like.
The two weekends that I have been over, have been really enjoyable. It was lovely to have a bit of warm winter sunshine the last time, fingers crossed for many more sunny days. It certainly makes things a lot more enjoyable, the first Sunday I went over, I got utterly soaked through, and had to travel back on the bus, dripping wet, I made no friends that day! My lesson is now learnt and a spare set of clothes are firmly packed in my bag, hopefully, this is not a warning of things to come, but its as is says in the first pamphlet February can be very changeable.
"February Fill Dyke" may live up to that old country title––or it may not. We shall not be so rash as to prophesy what the weather will be, for though it may be snowing or raining in the North, the South may be basking in the sun––even if a wintry one. Ministry of Agriculture Allotment & Garden Guide Vol. 02 1945
So I am making steady, but slow progress on the digging side of things. I have now reached the ground which was not worked over last year and so is packed full of matted weeds, meaning that it is difficult to dig as you have to untangle the grass and weeds before you can lift the soil up with your fork. Thankfully I only have another small section to go and then I will be digging the ground which is currently under the tarpaulin, so fingers crossed its weed free!

The digging so far.
I am aware from all the manuals and advice that I have been absorbing over the last few weeks, that I should probably be waiting until the ground is a lot dryer to dig it over.
Never work the soil when it is too wet and sticky and clings in lumps to your boots. You do more harm than good by walking on it and working it when it is like that.  Ministry of Agriculture Allotment & Garden Guide Vol. 02 1945
My glamorous digging attire
 The puddles do tend to form in the holes I've dug, and the mud well and truly sticks to my boots, but I fear if I don't get cracking now I will be panic digging later to get all the things planted that I need to. So I am going against advice (I am making sure I don't walk on the dug sections and I am using a fork rather than a spade to break up the clods) and doing my own muddy thing!

The digging might be progressing slower than I would like, but I have at least marked out my sections. As I mentioned in my last post, the wartime plan is for a 30'x90' plot, which by the way is flipping massive, that's three times the width of mine! I would seriously need to give up the day job to manage a plot that big!
Ours, thankfully, is nowhere near that size. After a bit of measuring I have discovered, it works out to be 11.5 ft wide by about 60ft long (give or take a foot or two on the length) so I have had to scale things down considerably. I realised that to keep the beds square, as in the original plan, I needed to make the sections 10 x10 ft, which leaves a bit of room to have a path each side.

Relocated gooseberry bushes to divide the first section from the second. It was only when I started to man handle them that I realised just how prickly they are!  
I am dividing each of the sections with my fruit bushes which currently run along the left-hand fence. This will mean I will be able to get at the bushes better for pruning and picking the yummy berries. It's also going to provide me with a way of keeping my sections well defined in the subsequent years, though it may mean the odd spiky branch up the bottom when digging...something to look forward to then!
One of my little Robin friends
But the very best thing about this whole venture has been, listening to the birds in the surrounding forest chirp away while I am working. It's so lovely and peaceful and makes all the hard work seem a lot easier. I've even made some friends in some very brave little Robins, who are very keen to snaffle up the worms that are being unearthed as I dig away.

So that's the story so far on the plotting and planning stage of things, next up is planting and pruning!

Wendy x


  1. This is brilliant! The allotment is going to be great. It'll be transformed by the summer. And great exercise! I love brave little robins too, there's a couple in my boyfriends garden.

  2. You're doing a grand job!
    I use planks of wood to stand on when planting, digging etc and to create moveable pathways...

    Yes I love the close connection to wildlife too... if you create a pond you'll get even more... My allotment is a really sanctuary ... enjoy!! Smiles Cass

  3. This is fabulous - I really think planning is so helpful. Wish I had a big garden to get stuck in with some proper gardening, alas a concrete yard infested with slugs in a shared house is what I have at present. One day...

    P x

  4. Brilliant work my lovely! It is starting to shape even the Robins are being supportive of your hard are going to have a marvelous victory garden with lots of yummy food...makes me start dreaming of a summer barbeque! I hope you are feeling better from the grotty cold...hopefully spring will visit us soon with warmer winds!
    May xx

  5. What a great project and a terrific space! I just ordered some seeds myself, so I look forward to following along.

  6. You are going to have THE best toned arms ever when this is done. Plus a super healthy dinner every night once the veggies get going. Great job!

  7. I am so jealous of the space you have to garden! I can't wait to see the finished garden. We just wrote a little something on Victory Gardens in the US if you'd like to take a look: