Some notes to try and help on track of the allotment.
The Llanrhaeadr allotments started in the mid 200’s I think, and Nina who used to live at Pen y Lan wast the previous owner of ours. She had done a pdc and had a nice approach to it. When she had the twins it was too much for her so Grace and i took it on for 2 or 3 years, then it want back to Nina. That was when we agreed and the 7 ridge and furrow beds, and the idea was to use minimum of tillage. No dig is the aspiration.
We agreed to tray and maintain a good mix of perennial herbs on the ends of each beds to promote overwintering insects and keep the soil alive etc.
Bed 1. Mainly perennials on there.. Rhubarb, comfrey, cardoon. All produce lots of biomass for compost, and you can of course eat the rhubarb. We grew onions on the far ebd last year, and shallots. The bin is to force the Rhubarb to be tall, it seems to make quite a difference, we fed it heavily with grass cuttings mainly so far.
Bed 2. This was the main brassica bed in 2020. We grew Kale, chard also
Bed 3. We got a really good crop of leeks from 2020, still in march 2021 there are 60 to be harvested still
Bed 4. We called this the poly-bed in 2020 and tried mixing lots of things together, to varying degrees of success. The curly kale did well, over wintered and is starting to really grow again as it warms up.
Bed 5 We have been playing around with green manures, this has some phacaelia on it at the moment. It was very clumpy, we did crimson clover also last year. We did our main spuds here tin 2020 with as mulch on top as we could find. We could have done better though as the rain washes the milch down the raised beds so we had some green potatoes. but making it a little wider can fix that.
Bed 6 Onions from sets. We also popped in pumpkins and marrows around the edges all over
Bed 7 is a Hugl bed that Nina started in about 2012, we have added old rotten wood to it as much as we can, and see it as high carbon soil which will do well for propagating and growing fruit trees and berry bushes. There are the maiden apples on there that Han made on a grafting course in 2019 and some currents.
Compost plan for 2021
I want to make a classic old school hot compost heap and the allotment this spring. We have access to a good range of materials so i am determined to get it right if i possibly can. `It is all about getting the right carbon to nitrogen ration and a good airflow so that the thermophillic bacteria get get busy respiring and raise the temperate in the middle of the heap up to 70 degrees C. They are aerobic and need to breath if that are going to do all that hard work.
If a compost heap is bacterial bonfire then the best ingredients are air and moisture is a greatest diversity of microbes. We have cow, pig, duck and horse manure, all soaked into straw. Rotten wood-chip, some raw biochar and pile of half rotten weeds and clods form last years heap. Today was day there, no heat yet. Not enough critical mass to start the bonfire, so watch this space, we shall not be giving in to defeat. What i feel it is lacking is grass cuttings, nettle, too early in season for those. But I have access to horse manure.. also a palette of out of date fruit juice, so i might try feeding the heap some of that also.