…than my cat at both his food bowls.

Even though Friday is not strictly speaking a Plot Day, the ‘usual suspects’ of Matt, Jon and Gary turned up, and New David very kindly cycled over to lend us a hand.  And boy, do we need it!

Ian inspecting the old bed before removal.After the obligatory cup of Plot Tea, Ian and I had a gentle ‘wander’ all around our allotments, each with a wheelbarrow to pick up loose bits of litter, old broken wood and general detritus that tends to either blow down from the road, or just get dropped by volunteers or visitors.  A little ‘housekeeping’, if you like.

Meanwhile, New David was busy working his ‘magic’ with our favourite paint on a short set of wooden ladders that a kind passerby dropped off for us towards the end of yesterday.  Of course, I didn’t get a picture, but shall tomorrow now they have two coats of paint and look spiffing!

Then, Ian and I carried on ‘furtling’ the beds that we and Gary had worked on the other day.Nearly as good as Gary gets it.

Here you can see one after we’d finished, and apart from the canes on top, it looks almost as good as the one Gary did.

And talking of which, Ian went over Gary’s bed one more time to break up the large lumps of soil and get that ‘good enough to sleep on’ look.Done!

Here you can see it in all its glory!  Tomorrow, we plan to pop the bean poles in and plant some climbing french beans in here.  We have loads of various types of beans in the plastic greenhouse with the meshing on that are hardened off enough to go out -providing we put adequate slug traps down, but as Diane said today, the paths and beds are so dry at the moment, slugs won’t really venture on them for fear of drying up.Our 'cheeky' little helper.

The bed at the very back is where the carrot bags were, and today Ian skillfully gave it a ‘first dig’ over.  This soil hasn’t had anything growing in it for quite a few seasons, and as Ian was digging, he found out why.  Just a few inches below the topsoil is clay; thick, wet, heavy clay, so that bed is going to need some major work and TLC.  Don’t quote me on this, but I suspect industrial amounts of leaf mold and if we’re lucky, some well-rotted manure might be in order.

Up to the left here is our now-regular visiting robin.  He really is getting rather tame, but that’s not really such a bad thing.  Yes, he knows full well about Mitzi, so stays well clear when she’s around, but as soon as he sees us start to dig or move the earth, we hear his chirping calls, look around, and there he is.

“C’mon, guys!  I’ve got a starving family to feed.  Get your backs into it!”

Meanwhile, New David and Diane were working on the bed that had to move.  It had been full of weeds, the dreaded bindweed and other rubbish, but Diane and Gary have been gradually emptying it over the last few days in preparation.

All too soon it seemed, we had finished our bed-digging.  It was time for the ‘main event’.New bed in position.

In the end it was ridiculously easy to move.  Ian went round the bed, making sure the corners were all loose, then the three of us picked it up and very carefully moved it up the plot.  Before laying it down, we turned it over so the old bottom was the new top.  This meant we could replace one of the slats that had rotted.  In this picture, its the one at the back on the top.

Here you can see the finished job, but what you can’t see is that Ian and I shortened it by a couple of feet so it would match the length of the others.  Also to note is the external stobs -three per side.  This is our new ‘preferred method’ of stobbing.  Okay, you don’t get the neat, flush lines of internal stobs, but these are much more secure, and will hold back far more earth than internals.  You’re not relying on the ‘pulling power’ of a few nails to hold the long planks of wood back.

New David says he’ll give this a coat or two of our ‘magic paint’ tomorrow, then we can put earth it and plant some leeks.  Yay!

Back where the bed was, you Where the old bed was.can see the great expanse of space, but in the middle is sat something (…I don’t know quite what, but Diane does…) that Diane requested we temporarily leave until she can think of somewhere to put it.  Fine, Diane, but remember that tomorrow morning, there’s going to be a bike and a gazebo right where that plant is!

Anyway, talking of ‘tomorrow’, I can distinctly hear my bed right now;

“Pillow & duvet calling Nick…”

Be right there!

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