By late March 2013, I had got a fair bit of the first half of the plot dug and I was itching to start some crops. Mistake. The ground was nowhere near warm enough and I was trying to direct sow. Also not a sound idea.
Over time I have learned that starting many crops under cover as seedlings and then planting them out a bit later in the season (after the frosts) was a much better plan.
You can see I was aiming for the strategy with my newly made cold frames, but I hadn't got it all worked out.
Note too the weedy little wheel barrow. It did sterling service, considering it was free, but eventually gave up under the weight of soil I was forcing it to carry around.
So began the long hard task of digging. As I was working part time back then, I could spend an hour or two most days when the weather was dry.
The soil is good quality aluvial, as the allotments are on a river bluff above the Derwent, so drainage is pretty decent too.
But oh those weeds! I kept finding bind weed roots almost everywhere and even now (early 2021) I don't think I've got rid of all of it...
I got my current plot at the end of October 2012. It was a standard sized allotment, fairly flat, perfectly rectangular in shape and bordered on one long side by a paving path and on the opposite a crude dividing 'fence' made out of old doors. There were no buildings of any kind but some sheet metal and lengths of timber, roughly 4 x 2.
I made an initial plan to dig the entire plot by hand, trying to double dig where possible and clear the weeds but surmised that it would probably take me two seasons to get it fully clear and level (there seemed to be some inexplicable holes and ruts randomly around the plot). So the journey began...