January 1st

I started the New Year working on this website with my husband Keith (he helps me make sense of all the clever construction stuff)
We went to the allotment and took some photos for the site
It's was all looking a bit grim, though I have some Leeks and a few Cabbages - the ones that the birds left!
The weather has been quite wet with a few frosty mornings.

Jan 6th

Weather atrocious, gales and rain. Went to the allotment to check nothing had been blown about by the wind. The tarpaulin over the compost heap was flapping so secured that (glad I didn't have to chase over the site for it). Other peoples compost bins and stuff were all over the place so I weighted down what I could.
Pulled some Leeks and cut Curly Kale, came home, dried off and made some soup.
What a treat to pull fresh veg (even at this time of year) and have it for dinner the same day. That's one of the pleasures of the allotment for me. There is so much invested in the food you produce yourself. While the rain was lashing and wind blowing I was pulling Leeks that I could remember planting on a fine day early last summer.

Jan 16th

I've now got a guest book set up and a link with my email address, so would be happy to get any comments from you, either on the website or the allotment!

I'm working on the plan and what goes where this year. I'll get it on the website as soon as I can.

I'm going to have 6 strips (beds) running from top to bottom of the plot (North to South) with 2 narrow paths crossing these (East to West) to reduce temptation to jump across.

The beds will be 3ft wide. I know the books recommend 4ft but I have a recurring problem with my elbows and don't want to over reach.

One bed will be for permanent stuff.

The other 5 will be rotated each year.
One bed will have just green manure, so I know each bed gets a large input of that 1 year in 5, and to build up my compost supplies for the other beds during the year.

I've divided the things I want to grow into 3 groups as per Geoff Hamilton's - The Organic Gardening Book.

A - Potatoes etc.,
B - Beans etc.,
C - Brassicas etc.,

Group A has double the space requirement (for the things I want to grow) as B and C, so I've got 2 A beds (A1 & A2).

Going to work the rotation as follows:
Bed 1Bed 2Bed 3Bed 4Bed 5Bed 6
  2009     Back to the start, but might move the permanent bed                 to the other side if needed.

Hope I'm on the right track with this.

From what I've read, growing in what will become Deep Beds will give me best yield. The paths between rows I'm going to mulch with whatever I can get - lifted some carpet this week from beside someone's rubbish bins.

I have sussed that if my beds are only 3ft I should be able to rig up supports for net, fleece or plastic (for cloches), using lengths of old hose or flexible plastic pipe, that span the rows.

Am going to try to get to the lottie this weekend with my carpet and dark tarpaulin to cover some of the ground prior to marking out the beds and digging it over. It's quite wet at the moment so will restrain myself from doing it if it's too waterlogged, or from trying to do more.

I've got garlic and onion sets waiting to go in but fear that the wet may rot them at this point - I think I'm going to try starting some off in large pots at home and put them in the plot when it's dried out a bit.

I've been told that Alliums don't like to be transplanted (having their roots disturbed, but think that if I use large pots they won't have any disturbance to cope with so will experiment with that.

Restraining myself from buying any seed until I've completed my planning, but I shall be ordering in the next week or two, seed potatoes, heat treated onion sets, primed parsnip seed, and broad beans.

Also must sort out manure supply! There is a riding stable near us and I've had the OK to help myself from there before.
I'd like to get some down to the lottie ready to dig it in as I make the beds.