This week our family commitments have restricted my ability to visit the allotment, my focus today is on the developments we managed in the last few weeks of the holidays. Previously in the year I had my horizontal covered bed, across from that I had dug my cauliflowers and cabbages into a narrow bed, which was on the opposite side, that I had covered with rebar arches and scaffolding mesh.
After clearing the last of the sleepers from the bottom of our home garden, my husband graciously sawing one of them in half, he positioned the raised bed around the planting on the narrow side of the path. I had purchased some cattle mesh to build some arches between my raised beds and border, which we supported with the remnants of an old greenhouse.
I secured the border with hinges and large nails so, that if the children climbed around the outside they would be secure enough to withstand it. It took around six bags of soil to fill in the end as I like it to be a decent depth and on the bottom layer I used a large cardboard box over old soil bags to ensure a reservoir level for the roots. The cardboard will eventually rot down but the depth of the soil which is around 5 inches, this will ensure anything planted will have strong root growth, and access to water at the base.
I have spent years growing a variety of plants with my children at home, mainly in compost in raised beds or containers. I find they are more confident planting direct into the compost rather than the ground and as we had a few sleepers leftover it seemed like a good solution to encourage them to participate, using a medium they can enjoy.
The Broccoli I relocated from the horizontal bed at the side as I plant to add to the soil I reclaimed from the grass cutting compost bin, as this bed needed weeding anyway I took the risk to move them. I had planted the first seedlings into paper pots, as all of the research I had done had advised that broccoli did not like to be moved once planted. This however is not the case, as you can see above the plants have thrived and are now reaching up to the top of the cover.
Finally the archway will be to grow beans, gourds or tiny pumpkins next year with my new raised beds and arches, I plan to grow more varieties as the support will be already in place and I can rotate the crops per bed as required.