IF it stops raining, I'll get outside and plant some of the garlic I bought at the Malvern Autumn Show at the end of September. If not, then it will have to be next weekend, along with the onions and broad beans. I've got the shallots started, and have also got pots of Ramsons and Tree Onions underway, as well as a couple of aquatic baskets of Saffron Crocus.
That's just the productive stuff. I've managed to be fairly diligent on the floral side too, with a border of dwarf narcissi at the allotment, plus various narcissi, dwarf irises and species tulips in pots, plus some large aquatic baskets planted with camassias and alliums to be dropped in the ground in "drifts".
I have totally revamped the plan for the allotment. This came about from a realisation that although usually lumped in with root crops, edible alliums have slightly different cultural needs. On top of that, think of how many onions you would use in the kitchen. Most meals require an onion or two, and of you multiply that by 365, so to grow a respectable proportion of our annual needs, they deserved a bed to themselves.
Hence the crazy six year rotation has been extended. Not just to seven, but to eight, with a bed for either annual flowers for cutting, or a grain crop filling the last space. With the exception of the fruit trees and bushes round the perimeter, the rest of the plot is getting a revamp too. Now the flood relief works are well underway, there should be less chance of us finding the allotments submerged in bad weather, so I feel it is safe to get these works done. We may even replace the shed, which is starting to feel its age, and more than that, being sawn in half and rebuilt in a hurry.
This Autumn, there will also be changes to the front and back gardens. The boarding round the herb bed in the front garden has started to rot, so needs replacing. This will give us a chance to lift some of the larger plants (especially the Bronze Fennel and Soapwort) and try to get the upper hand over some of the more rampant plants (Tansy, Betony and that Soapwort again). I want to keep the emphasis on functional plants (not just edible, but cosmetic and aromatic too), but I want it to be more decorative. There are times when the bed has been home to a selection of green monsters, so a few flowers at different levels need to be added. I also want to reclaim the gravelled area by the house wall, as it seems to have become a storage area for rubbish.
The back garden remake started last year, with the new mini green houses and pots of fruit bushes along the south facing fence. That fence needs to have the final few panels replaced, then the new chicken run can finally be made. Once we've replaced the old chicken coops with one new one, a whole load more space will be freed up.
It's four years since we first got the chickens. Of those first four, only one - Giggy the Leghorn - survives, but the others are not that far behind in age. They seem to have spent more of this year moulting than laying, so once the new run is built, I intend to get some additions to the flock.
All of this will get started ONCE it stops raining.