It’s set to be hectic, but a varied year. 2019 will be the first full year I have a plot that I can easily get to, and one I can make the most of.
Before that though, there is much to do to get the plot ready. The timber is there are ready for me to put in place – which I’ve already started to do. The polytunnel is already in situ, as are the compost bins – one of which is already full.
As we approach the time for sowing, one of my first tasks this year will be to put some staging together for the polytunnel. I already have the timber and a rough idea of what I’m going to do.
The timber on the plot itself also needs to be put in place. As mentioned, I’ve started this process but the weather has slowed progress. I do however need the borders in place sooner rather than later now – especially if I’m to get fruit trees planted and the border hedging in place.
Ideally, I also want to add some manure to the beds before spring. I’m conscious of the fact I’m leaving this quite late, so time is of the essence.
Once all the outside timber is in situ, I can put the wood chip down for the paths and bases in for the shed and greenhouse.
I’ve decided upon an 8×6 shed and 10×6 greenhouse, and although the bases for those will be put in place as soon as I’m able, I may have to wait a while for the structures themselves. Ideally, I’d like to be in a position to have at least the greenhouse in place for spring sowing.
Coldframes alongside the path leading to the shed. I’ll need at least one of these ready for spring but will eventually add as many as I can fit in the available space. The path is, however only 2.4m long. I’m tempted to opt for the tall ‘mini greenhouse’ style with lifting lids to maximise this space.
Water butts essential given last years problems. In terms of collection areas I’ll have the polytunnel, shed and greenhouse eventually. My intention is to eventually connect at least 3 water butts to each. I’m also looking at possibly adding a manual water pump (the type you find on a well) and running a pipe to the pond to give me a further water supply when the pond has water in it.
I need to add some ‘H’ posts to my modified compost bins. They were originally 4 solid sides, great for the filling but hard work emptying. I removed the front side on all 3 of them, with the contents currently held in place with strong cardboard for now. The ‘H’ posts will allow me to ‘slot’ timber boards here for a more sturdy and elegant solution.
The shed is likely to be one of the last additions to the plot, though again something I’d like as early as possible. It’s the least necessary, but would be nice to have. The tunnel and greenhouse will both provide sufficient space for potting. In terms of need, the shed is effectively for seed and feeds storage. It will primarily act as a rest and workspace. I plan to add a desk area I can work and study from, as well as sit.
I hope to add, at some stage, solar panels to the shed too. When adding the shed and greenhouse bases, I will add some weather boxes and cabling. This will go between the shed and the greenhouse. Allowing me to have power – solar power – in both structures. For the shed, this will allow me to power things such as a small fridge, lighting and perhaps a small tube heater for the winter. For the greenhouse though, this will allow the use of heated propagators – the main reason I want to do this.
The likelihood of all these things being done this year is minimal, for cost as well as time reasons.
Most importantly of all though, is to grow as much as possible!
Away from the Plot
I have a great deal happening away from the plot this year too. I’ll be taking the RHS exams in February and starting my BSc immediately after. I’ve also been working to restructure my ‘day job’. I’ve planned my time quite strictly to allow for all these activities without them becoming overwhelming.
Whether it works out that way is another matter. If I need to make changes, then so be it.
I’m effectively trying to do 3 things ‘full-time’, as well as family life and all the commitment that brings. The hope is that by varying each day with a bit of each will be enough to keep me going, without feeling overwhelmed. We’ll see how that plays out!