Posts Tagged permiculture

Allotment in planning

Finally my allotment application came through.  When I spoke to the lady on the phone she wasn’t overly informative and shocked when I asked these things I lovingly refer to as questions.  Apparently she’s confused as to how I’ve found out that she’s the woman who’s roughly in charge of allotments – after all there seems to be absolutely no published information about these allotments including an address or map.  Both of which I shall provide here, so that locals have some idea of how the place is laid out.

The allotment I’ve been provided is 5 poles.  This equates roughly to 20ftx30ft.  It is still intact – that is to say no-one has taken the topsoil off – but unfortunately entirely covered in couch grass.  Yay! = )

For those who do not know the pleasures of couch grass, it is the kind of parasite that digs itself about 8-16 inches into the topsoil and will come back time after time from a single root fragment.  The only way to rid yourself of it is to dig it out and sieve it by hand. I however, am going down the lazy man route of permaculture – namely the no-dig method!

This method employs cardboard as a weed resistant membrane – I shall be first putting down chicken crap as my fertiliser then applying a double thickness of forementioned cardboard – 6″ of horse manure (I shall be using fresh for those who are interested in these things) then a layer of mulch – straw.

I shall water and… leave.  Until I’m ready to plant!  This lazy-man attitude was brought to you by Mr Bill Mollison through the magic of Permaculture.  If it works for couch grass it’ll damn well nearly work on everything.

For those of you who get worried by these things, yes, it will raise the soil line by 12″ (or more) but that’s ok because I have a bad back and prefer to have the ground a foot closer to me.  It also means this’ll work pretty much anywhere – including concrete, though you may want to include a few shovelfuls of natural earth and a few worms to get the composting going on the lower levels!

Once composted the horse and chicken poo will provide a rich source of nitrogen for my crops, though root veggies will be difficult to grow in the first year.  The straw stops the rain from directly impacting the ground and the natural worm aeriators will keep it nice and unpacked.  So when I pull on my potatos, they’ll just pop out of the ground!  No digging required!

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