6. Onions are in – Tuesday 11 April 2017

I was away over the weekend and had things to catch up on at home, so after 6 days I finally returned to pick up where I left off after what seemed an age ago. I missed the quiet solitude of the place, my space to contemplate life!

But returned now, accompanied by my daughter back home from uni on her Easter break. So I set her to work, raking, lightly watering and mixing our own compost into bed 2 in preparation for some actual planting, finally! I don’t think it has rained at all since my last visit so some of the lumps were like rocks.

Meanwhile, I started digging at one end of bed 3, a long thin bed across the middle of the plot. I want to put my second early seed potatoes in there. But while the soil itself was very soft and pretty fine, it contained so many roots, from thick branches, to long strands resembling fine (if not dirty!) hair. That will need to be finished another day.

Back to bed 2, and I think we could have been there for a month of Sundays and still not achieved a desired ‘fine tilth’, so we decided it was time to actually put something in the ground. Clearly not the tools designed for the job, but we lined up a couple of long pieces of wood and laid them across the bed to act as our straight line guides. Using a trowel, we pulled a shallow trench through the pre-watered soil where we placed our onions sets (baby onions) at regular intervals. My book said the rows should be around 12 inches apart and the onions 4 inches apart, but without a tape measure we had to guess, which is probably apparent from the photo! We pushed the soil back over the little onions, with just the tops poking through, and voila! To finish off, some dated labels – 2 rows of ‘Stuttgart’? donated by the site membership secretary, Ruth, and 2 rows of a variety I don’t know, which were donated by my eldest daughter who has a plot of her own near her home. I’ll now need to go back to my books to double check we did that right, how to look after them over the coming weeks, and protect from pests especially.

I met another of my fellow allotmenteers today, Bernadette, who like everyone else I’ve met so far, was very friendly. Terry (Mr IP) was there too, offering me lots of things to plant. A good couple of hours later we called it a day, backs suitably aching. No pain, no gain!

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