First year at the lottie - August update then and now and what I learned along the way.
Talked about here:
- The lottie a year on
- Lessons learned - what I'd have done differently
- What can be sown in August from 3 of my favourite YouTube teachers - Liz Zorab, My Family Garden and Dan from Homegardens.
- Getting started with No Dig from Charles Dowding
- Lazy composting with Huw Richards
Here we have the lottie at 31 August 2020.
By the way when I said Easter I actually meant Easter 2022 not this year. And also I never did draw up the measurements that we did with the string. :-)
And here is the same tour now (9th August 2021)
There were quite a lot of lessons learned along the way!
I didn't really start 'cardboarding' for another couple of weeks so if I was doing it again now I think there are some things I definitely would have done differently and earlier. Starting collecting cardboard when I first got the allotment would have been one of them.
Compost bins from pallets - I actually had a number of pallets at home which could have got my rather rickety compost bins going earlier.
Water buts, as you can see the one I inherited wasn't actually all that useful! Getting some buts on the plot to harvest our abundant rainfall would have been something I'd have done differently. Though to be fair with the 'No Dig' method I haven't needed to water that much but useful to have on site especially for when I got the mini polytunnel going.
Seed sowing. I had no idea that you could still sow seeds in August, whilst I didn't actually get the beds down till September there were still seeds I could have brought on.
Here are some great tips for what we can sow in August from two of my favourite garden advisors:
Also some more advice and great tips from Dan and lots of how to sow and grow tips. I also really wish I had known the advice of knowing what you are growing! When I first started watching the videos I really didn't understand why they were telling me what varieties they were sowing - I do now!
I hope this gives some encouragement to first time fellow lottiers. It is possible! And with no dig it is very doable. Here is one of the first videos I watched from No Dig guru Charles Dowding. Having watched it again I am really reminded about the importance of getting my own compost going as soon as possible. The beds I laid down (the first two I put down in September and then left till March) were mostly cooked cow manure (2 years +). It was a bit hot to plant in at the time, but if I had just got a few bags of (organic peat free compost) down as well I could have been eating stuff through the 'hungry gap'.
Hungry Gap was something I hadn't heard of before but is the time when you have finished harvesting the winter veg March time but the new summer veg isn't quite ready i.e. June time. As you can see in the vids above there are lots of things we can be sowing now to grow food for then.
Here is a great video from Mr Dowding on how to get started with No Dig.
Also check out his videos on making compost, but if you are just starting out then Huw Richards (another one of my favourite teachers on YouTube) created this really easy to get going video.
A beginners take on Permaculture - National Allotments Week - Plotting for the future
What my allotment means to me
For more progress and how the plot came on in photos click here.