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Borrowed land

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  • Borrowed land

    So I think I mentioned that a couple of friends of mine offered me the use of their veg patch this year - they have a 2-year-old and are expecting another baby very soon and they just haven't had time or energy to tend it.

    Now my own veg beds are under control I have some spare time, so I went to check it out on Saturday. It's pretty overgrown as it was abandoned halfway through last year, with dock, dandelions, plantain, grass and nettles, but it's clearly fertile if there are nettles, and it's previously had pigs on it. I didn't look at the soil, but I'm assured it's the same heavy clay I have here. It's only about half a mile away from my house so easy to walk to (I don't drive).

    There's a field right next to it with a couple of ponies, and I'll be able to take manure from there. I'm sort of thinking about taking the weeds out, covering with cardboard and piling manure on top, but I'll see what the soil's like once I start working on it. Might actually use my Dutch hoe for the first time ever!

    The plan is to grow low-maintenance stuff - potatoes, possibly oca, winter squash, sweetcorn, maybe beans for drying. Nothing where I need to be there every single day...

  • #2
    Looks like we both have similar projects going on.


    • #3
      Looks like it Clumsy. We can be overgrown plot buddies!

      Started work today, just a couple of hours because I'm really out of shape (and have fibromyalgia). Got a bit sunburned, so sunscreen and a hat tomorrow.

      Measured the plot roughly before I managed to break my tape measure, it's about 5m x 10m, or 15' x 30'. I think I'm about 10% done with hoeing the weeds - once that's finished I'll dig out the dandelion and dock roots. Happily there's nothing terrible in there like mare's tail or ground elder or bindweed, but the couch grass might prove to be a pain.

      Soil? As expected, fairly heavy clay, but not as bad as mine.

      Honestly, it feels really weird to be working in the ground rather than raised beds. But it's a good experience! Just hope I don't overdo it and tire myself out too much.


      • #4
        Woke up a little bit stiff this morning, but nothing terrible. I've often felt much worse the morning after a day of doing not very much!

        Almost three hours of hoeing today, with frequent breaks. And I managed twice as much as yesterday, and my body still feels relatively okay, and I definitely could have done a bit more. I'm really pleased, I thought I'd have a lot of trouble but the new medication is obviously working, and I'm definitely getting more efficient with my hoeing technique.

        I'm about 1/3 of the way through the hoeing now. At this point I'm going to dig out roots from the first bit, manure it, and plant some spuds and oca.

        It's going well, I think.


        • #5
          Take your time, glad it is going so well. The extra grounds sounds like it is going to be really useful and a good size too
          Has the ground started drying out yet?


          • #6
            The ground isn't looking bad at all, for clay. I'm not coming away with it stuck to my boots anyway!


            • #7
              Had another measure today and it's more like 5m x 9m, but that's all fine.

              Hoeing is 50% done, I've added the contents of the toddler's sandpit (he's getting fresh new sand) to the hoed half and started piling manure on the first section. I don't think there's enough sand to make much difference, but it needed disposing of anyway and it certainly won't hurt.

              I've "introduced" myself to the 4 horses/ponies in the neighbouring field who are providing me with lots of great manure. Two of them are only about a year old and were rescued after being abandoned by travellers who moved on and just left them. Very sad, but they have a nice home now. Since I'm going to be in and out of that field a million times with manure I wanted to try to make sure they weren't going to be stressed by a stranger, so I've been sniffed and scratched some manes and I think we're good.

              And now I'm tantalisingly close to being able to plant potatoes!


              • #8
                That's great progress. A lot of work, but hope the harvests will justify all the effort. Adding sand to clay is always good. And the horse muck definitely. Hope all goes well and you will be able to garden there for many years.

                Glad you can feel you are getting stronger too. That's so empowering.
                Last edited by Galina; 22-04-2016, 07:11.


                • #9
                  Yes, it's a lovely feeling to know I can do much more physical work than I thought I was capable of. I couldn't have done this a couple of months ago, so thank you very much new medication!

                  I'm only expecting to use the land for this year, as my friends are hoping to take over again next year. But who knows, they might need help since there will be two little children by then...


                  • #10
                    Good work and hope the weather keeps up for potato planting

                    I may have asked before, but what about some extra space at an allotment in the future for growing the bulky not so time consuming things?


                    • #11
                      So Friday I had a shorter session. Wheelbarrowed a load of manure from the horse field (shovelling up that stuff is much more tiring than hoeing), dumped it on the first section, and put in a row of oca and two rows of potatoes. I plan to earth up by adding more manure later on.

                      The small person is very keen to help me but as he's only almost three he doesn't really have the attention span yet! He did help opening and closing the gate to the horse field, digging the patch with my hand fork in tiny little bursts, and I let him plant some potatoes for me as well. I can't wait to see his face when they start growing, and even better when we harvest them! He's definitely a gardener in the making.

                      I suppose I could think about an allotment, or part of one, now I'm feeling so much better. Interesting idea!


                      • #12
                        Well done, though have to admit I'm well jealous with your progress, I've not done any planting yet!

                        Wonderful to have such a keen little helper.
                        Yes go for it, might be worth finding out the waiting list for a lottie and getting your name down?


                        • #13
                          Haven't been able to do any work for a week because the weather's been so horrible - wind, hail, snow, and sleet as well as rain. Looking forward to getting back to it!


                          • Galina
                            Galina commented
                            Editing a comment
                            I've just fled indoors from a hail shower, skies are looking more blue again, so back out in a mo.

                        • #14
                          Nothing much been happening here either apart from weeds growing!