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Wood-Chip And Tidying Up.

With all the extra time on my hands, due to the continued Lockdown and only partial re-opening of the Charity where I was a Voluntary Worker, I decided to weed some of my paths on my Allotment and renew their Wood chip surfaces. Normally we get a steady supply of Wood-Chip from a darting friend of mine who is a part time tree surgeon, but I donít think he has been working of late, so I hunted round for another source. Travelling around my local area recently in the car I spotted a couple of Tree Surgeons at work with their lorries and Wood Chippers attached. I stopped briefly to ask what they were going to do with their waste Chippings and that resulted in two free loads for the Allotments. The first load was used up by Plot Holders very quickly and I didnít get a look in as I wasnít ready for it, but the Second load was much better timed for me. When the chap offered to drop it off for us he said that we would have to have the logs that had been tossed in the back of the Lorry with the Chippings. I agreed and it was duly delivered. It was his mate who actually dropped it off for us though and he obviously wasnít used to tipping a load, because he opened up the tailgate, tipped the back and drove off a bit too quickly. The Chippings spread over about 20 yards of the Car Park giving me one heck of a job to clear it up! I set to immediately and with a little help from another Plot Holder it didnít take too long. It had to be done before the Parish Council could see it, because they would not have approved of the mess one little bit! After it was all tidied up I then had to ferret through the large pile to unearth all of the buried logs! I felt like I was a kid again at one of the old time Fairs with the Lucky Dip prizes buried in the Barrel of Saw-Dust! There must have been nearly Ĺ a ton of logs some of which were nice and straight 4 foot lengths of trunk that were picked out to be used for bed edging and the rest went for firewood.

My paths hadnít been done for some time and took a bit of effort to weed, but after that job was finished and the Chippings were all down and tidy, I decided to dig out my Compost Bin and use the fibrous waste to mulch my Asparagus bed. The Harvesting of young shoots had finished back in June and their feathery tops were growing abundantly. However, they did need feeding up before they die off and go dormant for the Winter, so firstly I scattered some Chicken Manure Pellets round them which were then covered liberally with my home made compost. The Pellets do smell badly so covering them up like this is a good idea and Mulching is always to be recommended anyway.

My Globe Artichoke patch is right next to the Asparagus and the tops on those had died down after the earlier harvest in the Spring, so, those were the next to get attention. You almost have to use Loppers rather than Secateurs to cut the old woody stems as they are that thick and then after that was done I weeded around them and gave them a feed of Chicken Manure Pellets as well.
The Grape vines stretch behind the Artichokes and were running rampant after a very late start due to the May frosts, so they too had a trim. Cutting back the excess growth at this time of year exposes the bunches of young Grapes letting the air and light get to them. As they develop this will help to both ripen them and prevent mould from developing.
The Early, or Summer Fruiting Raspberries were next for the chop with my cutting out all of the old stems that had fruited and were now turning brown leaving the bright green, healthy, new stems that would need tying in over winter so they can provide the fruit for next year. As usual there were some underground Runners sprouting up here and there, so I carefully dug them up as best as I could and potted them. Being in full growth they will need special attention to get them going and will be prone to shrivelling up, but with care they should root into the pots properly ready to be used in the Fundraiser for the Allotments next Spring. The Autumn fruiting Raspberries will have to be cut down, dug up and potted after they have finished fruiting in the late Autumn, Winter, or better still in the Spring.
My Apple Trees were something else that needed attention with the excessive growth cut back to help the tree form new Fruiting Spurs. Obviously, I had to cut carefully as the trees had some Apples on that I didnít want to lose. However, some of the early fruiting ones were ready to harvest at the start of the month so those were easier to prune.

Elsewhere on my plot I have been doing lots of Harvesting of things like Courgettes, Tomatoes, outdoor ďRidge Cucumber,Ē Swiss Chard, Beetroot, Turnips and Potatoes. My Onions were just about ready to dry off at the end of last month with their tops going down and starting to turn brown. After fetching them up I finished drying them on trays, in the Sun on my Yard at home. I have been picking lots of Runner beans and Dwarf French Beans, but the French Beans will soon come to an end. The season for these is much shorter than that of Runners. My Herritage Climbing Beans are coming on nicely, but will follow on later as will the Squashes and my Red Cabbages that are nearly ready. I donít normally do very well with most of the Brassicas, but find that Red Cabbages are a bit easier. They donít seem to be plagued by Cabbage White Butterflies so much for one thing, although Slugs and Pigeons can be a nuisance.
The Month of August can be a very busy month for the Allotment with keeping on top of the Weeds, keeping things trimmed and of course lots of Harvesting, but it wonít be long before Autumn will be upon us and then it will just be tidying up in preparation for the coming Winter. There will still be a little Autumn planting though of things like Japanese Onions, Broad Beans, Garlic, Jerusalem Artichokes, Spring Cabbage and new Fruit Bushes, or Strawberry Plants.


 

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