This Friday I took the day off from volunteering to spend some time preparing new beds in my own growing space, taking inspiration from my time with Ru and the team up at OrganicLea.
Since taking on this small allotment in 2010 i’ve paced myself on how much i’ve ‘bitten off’, first starting with just the little patch already prepared, and then adding the large bed down the side of the south facing fence (with the help of my lovely parents and boyfriend).
This year, I feel confident enough to add more beds which will take me to the edge of the allotted area. In this photo below, my space is the area in the front, the middle beds (from behind the kale palm tree and been poles) is that of one neighbour, and the beds at the far end are managed by another, who uses them for his bee hives. This unofficial allotment is part of the garden connected to the Tenants and Residence Association house in our estate in London, SE5.
As it will just be me creating these beds, it’s likely to take a couple of days. This is how far I’ve got on day one:
Step One: Prepare the site
Step Two: Marking out
I’ve gone for two narrower beds which should be easy to reach over, leaving 40 cm between them for moving around easily. I’ve also made sure there is still plenty of room before the beds start as this is where the water butts and compost heap are accessed from.
Step Three: Preparing the ground
Having consulted the books on how best to prepare raised beds, there seemed to be two options, dig or no dig. Knowing the site as I do from last year, I know just how many weeds are in this small patch. Not wanting to compromise the growing conditions, i’ve gone for the dig option. Although harder work, in this situation I think it’s the best option…
The two new beds are half-way there. Next week I plan to edge them both with wood that’s been donated by my family and then fill with more compost and worm cast.