Herb wheel begins

Rain spoiled my allotmenteering yesterday, so I briefly migrated south to Morpeth in the hope of finding better weather, where I chanced upon a stall run by Northern Ark Nursery. This was exciting, because they sell the exact herbs that I was hoping to use on the allotment. I know I bought a load of herb seeds just recently, but I can’t do anything with most of them yet, so I seized the chance and bought some rue, lovage and burnet. The burnet’s hanging out on the wildflower patch with the borage, while the rue’s protecting the raspberries from harm. Wasn’t sure exactly where to plant the lovage, so it’s by the Leek Bed.

These were all outside the herb wheel, but chives and hyssop are established now:

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I’ve still got a few to plant, but it’s nice to have made a start. I did lots of miscellaneous digging so I could get the green manure (winter tares, to be exact) planted. There was a bit of a rush because I really should have planted it last month, whereas with the other kinds of green manure I’ve got (field beans, forage peas), I think I can wait a while and they’ll overwinter quite nicely. Here, here’s a view of the whole allotment as of today:

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The path along the centre is slowly making its way forwards, and the green manure’s been mostly planted where I’ve dug, at the far end. I’m thinking in the new year, the area by the path to the right hand side would be a good place to have a potato patch. No point in using the raised beds for potatoes, as I want way more potatoes than that. The space to the right of the potential potato patch is reserved for the Secret Project. I think I’m going to plant heritage potatoes – there’s a place fairly near me that grows them and I have to say I’m tempted to grow stuff you can’t get at the supermarket – Shetland Blacks and Pink Fir Apples, etc.

I also planted peas. IN OCTOBER, LIKE A MADWOMAN.

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But I’m not mad, or at least, this alone won’t prove I am. It’s the Douce Provence variety, which, if I protect them under cloches or suchlike, should cope with being planted in October. I also planted some in troughs in the balcony garden. I didn’t really have plans for the raised beds this year – I thought if I could get them dug over so you could actually see them, that’d be a start. But once I’d started digging, it went a lot quicker than I’d thought as the soil quality, beneath all the weeds, is very good. So I thought I may as well plant stuff this year, and if it doesn’t work, no harm done. So I have garlic, peas (in a double bed), leeks and spinach, with the creation of a new and final raised bed still underway.

All in all, it’s got underway a bit faster than I was expecting. I guess it’s about a month since I started work. Come to think of it, a month to the day almost. It has been a lot of work, and I’ve been neglecting more of the balcony garden than I should (the sea kale has almost all died, which makes me very sad. I’ll have to try again, maybe from seed next time). I’ve also been neglecting stuff like ‘getting regular meals after work’ and ‘seeing friends’ and ‘tidying my house’, but that’s all by the by. But I’ve accomplished a bit more that I’d predicted – which all comes of having your expectations set nice and low.

Your humble blogger, in a wheelbarrow, with Bernard the bear and a parent of some description.

Your humble blogger, in a wheelbarrow, with Bernard the bear and a parent of some description.

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