How to Make a Simple Vegetable Bed

I am so eager to start planting out onions, shallots, and garlic on the allotment. So today — even though the brambles haven’t been fully cleared — I created the first vegetable bed. 

The day proved chilly, just after a rain spell, but we got straight to work. There was an eerie emptiness on the allotment today, even though it was a clear Sunday. Hmm, I wonder why?

Measuring

Ignoring the emptiness, I began to measure the bed. I hadn’t brought a tape measure, I realised too late, but the “Measure” app on my iPhone worked surprisingly well. I marked the first corner and then simply extended a straight line with the phone and marked the next corner. I went for a 1m x 3m bed. After marking out the longer, the bed proved a bit crooked, but we adjusted that easily by digging along a straighter line. 

Digging

Then off to work on turning the soil! We had to remove the established bramble roots, and these were quite hard to get out. We started attacking the soil with spades, but the soil was so heavy and clumpy after the rain, that it just stuck to the spades. 

Perhaps that’s why no one is at the allotment today?

It turned out much easier, we realised, to use a fork. The fork helped tease out most of the roots, and we could dig deeper to get the brambles. 

Quite a few earthworms came up along this exercise, and we tried not to hurt them. Of course, the robins inevitably also flew in to join the party. 

Fertilising

After battling with the heavy soil, I thought we could use the ash from the incinerator to fertilise it. We tipped it out over the bed. Surprisingly little ash had been made from all that green waste we burned. But just enough to cover the bed. We forked it in, mixing with the clay soil. 

We were just about to finish, when a sudden rain cloud swept over the allotment. Oh, it was meant to rain heavily today! And we’d arrived by scooter. 

Let it rain

We ran for the shed and hid inside. It was cosy but still not particularly warm. We watched as the rain poured down across the allotment. The prediction of rain was for hours. Now THAT must be why no one was here at the allotment today. 

Not to worry, at least the first bed is down. After an hour’s wait and munch on snacks in the shed, we did manage to wait out a dry moment to make a run for it, jump on the scooter, and go, go, go. 

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