August is a time to take stock of your garden. For me, the Tatton Show is over, and our team have a couple of awards to our credit, a highly commended and best feature garden. We are now at the stage of harvesting crops. Potatoes will soon be ready and I have been getting some great cucumbers and onions.
But as beds are being harvested it is now time to rethink the design of the plot. The allotment chair has been thinking of entering the National Garden Scheme maybe next year. This is a novelty and a challenge, as I have been building out of scrap wood.This was for ecological purposes, part of my green commitment, but it is not going to do for the future. Some of the scrap wood has gone already, but that was stuff that was in stock awaiting use.
The idea is to rethink the garden to make the design more space-efficient and also more aesthetic. I am going to take a out a path that lies between the flower bed, which needs upgrading, and some vegetable beds. These currently contain carrots and parsnips, so this change must await their harvesting. The paving stones from it will go to the handicapped plot nearby to make a paved area for wheelchair access. I am ripping up the scrap wood beds that lie behind and making beds out of pallet collars. I have some already, but I am moving some other pallet collars forwards.Another path will disappear, and the resut will be that the moving beds create two new paths, or rather do some widening, as one existing path is not wide enough.
This move has necessitated shifting water butts from the front to near the polytunnel. I shifted them single handed, partly emptied I must admit, and pulled muscles in my shoulder and neck. My daughter, who works in social care, will have a fit. "Daddy, you are sixty three, not twenty three!"
The hot weather has meant that we have had to concentrate on weeding and watering, but now as England has finally got some rain, thunderstorms to be be precise, we can think about other things, the weeding having been done, though not fully. The paths need maintenance. I use woodchip, as it is a green, renewable material, but it does require maintaining, as it rots down into soil. It also can acquire weeds. I am busily exhausting the pile of woodchip delivered by the council. Suddenly my woodchip paths have sprouted mushrooms, not edible ones, but little brown ones. I am not treating these as weeds as I know that the mushroom mycelia are good for the soil. They create soil structure and retain water.
The tree area, which occupies the rear third of the plot, will be weeded, but I am not interested in taking out grass, but merely weeds. I will trim the grass, but I am awaiting the leaf deliveries that will commence in Autumn, which I will use to mulch the whole tree area. I did this last year, and I have quite good crop of apples [future cider from my apple press.]
Finally, it is important to take time to help others. The handicapped have just taken up a plot, and they require lots of assistance. I have been showing some of them how to plant. We have donated the entries from our plot at the Tatton Show to the handicapped plot, but they need replanting, and this is a time when the skill of planting can be taught. The helpers need assistance. They are all trained in psychology etc, but working with the handicapped means that they have to deal with a whole range of crafts,and it is difficult for them to master them all, especially as many are quite young, they need people like us to help and guide them.