Plot 250: The First Month

We took over plot 250 at the Hamilton Lane site in Exmouth on October 14. It is a standard plot in terms of area although it is longer and narrower than the norm. It has a 12' x 8' greenhouse and three sheds, one made of corrugated plastic which needs demolishing, a metal tool shed which is fit for purpose and a good wooden shed which needs some repairing but is basically sound. We also inherited some basic tools, much rubbish and a plot full of couch grass and plantain and probably much more lurking out of sight. The soil is the best I have ever dug, free draining and with few stones, mainly smooth rounded pebbles as the soil overlays pebble beds.

Although my preference is to work the plot organically with no-dig deep beds, the thought of weeding out all of the couch and plantain by hand proved to be too daunting so I have used glysophate to try kill off what is visible. Glysophate is best applied during summer when weeds are growing rapidly but I am hopeful that the autumn application will make life easier in the spring. After a few weeks I dug the plot trying invert the top spit and bury the weeds. Fortunately the free draining soil does not need double digging. I have divided the plot into 1.8 metre strips, each strip having a 1.2 metre bed and a 0.6 metre path. The plan is to skim 100mm off the top of the paths to raise the height of the beds to about 150mm above the paths.

A priority was to deal with the greenhouse which had twisted during last winter's storms. I was advised to take out all of the glass to prevent further damage. The wooden base plate has rotted out so there is lots of work to do before the greenhouse is fit for action.

The front of the plot is completely overgrown and the compost heap has a wasps' nest so work here will have to wait until the wasps have died.

Much rubbish has been cleared to the local tip, including a huge box of rice: the previous owner's wife is Malaysian. Perhaps it is against Allotment Lore to get rid of things which can perhaps be recycled for some possible job some time in the future but I like tidy!