The extra bits...(Under construction).

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Allotment ...... Post 6



     Quite a shock awaited for me as I pulled up to the allotment t'other day. Yes it had been a good while since my last visit but hey there was nothing to check upon apart from the budding wildflower meadow I'm trying to cultivate under and around my young cider trees. What I'd overlooked in my inexperience in such matters was the condition of the soil. My basic research has led me to believe that wildflower meadows require poor soils with little or none enrichment, certainly not of the man made varieties. unfortunately for me I'd overlooked the fact that my meadow to be was previously a cultivated allotment and the soil was probably teaming with bleedin fertilizers, horse muck residue and the like and the sight that greeted me as I pulled up in 'Flat cap car' was worthy of only one word......BUGGER!!




     This meadow cultivating mularkey has obviously more to it than what meets the eye. But not to panic, oh no I'm made of stern stuff me. My research has also let me glean that about now is the time to be cutting the wildflower grass and dock meadow down and then keeping it cut until the growing season is over, basically replicating a meadow used for summer grazing. So firing up my new boy's toy, me petrol strimmer, I set to with some gusto and attacked the meadow sectionally scything it down to a 'grazed height' and raking as much of the cut matter up as possibly to avoid it returning goodness to the soil.




     
     The whole plot was cut down to size over two days and now I have to visit it regularly with strimmer and rake to replicate grazing. A positive point is that the two original apple cider trees on the plot look like they are going to provide me with enough poundage to produce a couple of gallons of cider this year which will be nice. I'm not expecting much off them next year as they are due for a much needed heavy pruning this autumn once their skirts have dropped.





      I have several varieties of wildflower seed to sow in the meadow including Yellow Rattle which should be an interesting addition to the meadow. These I should be sowing at the end of August to mid September if all goes to plan. Resident flowers that this plant imbecile has managed to identify at the moment are buttercup, dandelion and clover, oh and also cowslip that I introduced myself. Not a wildflower meadow as of yet but time and cider should see me through.

Till next time, take care all.

John
    

21 comments:

  1. Be sure to leave some long grasses in patches John- Skipper butterflies in particular lay their eggs on grass and the larvae will need it un-mowed through the winter if they are to survive :-)

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    1. Ah a timely reminder CT as on my next time away from the grind I was going to strim the final area around the two mature cider trees. Admission here as I had to look up Skipper butterflies up after reading your comment.

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  2. A honorable endeavor. Keep up the good work.

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  3. And now back to read a newer post!

    Loving your pictures, but for that weedwhacker! But understand what you are trying to do.

    Giving me courage to try anew with my wildflower meadow fruit orchard idea for the path to the well... Probably this fall winter... But must be severely protected from the deer this time -- not quite the beauty walk I'd intended... I had everything placed just so and pictured as to what it would like in 20 years time. No cigar.

    You might want to suppress the grass and weeds around your fruit trees with layers of newspaper covered with your cuttings. The newspapers will eventually feed the trees and work in the meanwhile to hopefully suppress all that competition. (I'm dishing out advice but not necessarily following it this season!)

    Off today or probably another to finally turn my first orchard attempt into something useful for the BBQ... The little trees have tried so hard against the odds, but going to start fresh and see if that is better.

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  4. Not sure what all I said awhile before but do want to say I do like the tall grass! But know it interferes with the wildflower meadow goal... And getting little trees off to a good start. (Are you recuperating?)

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    1. Thanks for the advice wildside, I'm glad my meagre efforts have given you a spur in the right direction. As for recuperating? Well I'm a stubborn old git and slowing down is just not my style I guess.

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  5. Bloody hell!! Hope you kept a look out for tigers and other jungle creatures!! Nice to have you back x

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    1. Don't know bout tigers but the feral cats there are bad enough, nice to be back Rach x

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  6. Your apples look brilliant, John. Are you going to plant more apple trees this Winter?

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    1. Cheers Dave.....yeah have plans for five more trees to form a boundary and another boundary marked with blackthorn bushes

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  7. What you need is to borrow John's sheep, lol. On our South Downs they grazed sheep last year and the wild flowers are brilliant this year.
    I'm really surprised that you are allowed to do this, your allotment people must be nice, when we had our allotments we got a ticking off if we let it overgrow.
    I shall be watching for next year now.
    Briony
    x

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    1. Thank you Briony, truth be told the mention of cider does smooth the way a tad ;-)

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  8. Well, unfortunately, creating our own little piece of paradise takes work, unless your paradise is a woodland! And even then, some management can be helpful. You'll get better quantities of cider in a somewhat manicured setting, for sure. But - Kudos! - for leaving bits of it wild and wooly.

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    1. Hi Casey, funny thing is that working the plot does not feel like work...just the opposite. Its also a great place to let life's shite wash away.

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  9. Good Luck with the meadow - will be worth it in the end :) Glad to hear you'll be getting some cider this year too - apples look scrumptious :)

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    1. Thank you Robin, hopefully it will start to look more meadow like over time.

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  10. I went to my allotment today after an absence, I did lots of weeding.....then felt so guilty. I love the weeds that grow there, actually. So I promised myself to research all the lovely wild flowers and to make a little art book to show them my true regard.
    I have Speedwell and a Scarlet Pimpernel and other lovelies......
    Found your blog on Ann's blog.
    My blog is not much at the moment....
    :)

    Wishing you luck with your meadow flowers. You are doing all the right things.
    Sue x

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    1. Hi Sue, thank you for your comment......a weed is only a plant where a human does not want it

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  11. We have a crab apple tree in our front yard that haphazardly blooms every year at the end of August or early September. This year, it began to bloom in mid June and now it is just bursting with tiny bitter tasting crab apples. It's been the oddest summer....

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    1. Hey Maria.....The seasons certainly don't feel as defined to me as they used to.

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