When we lived in the city we had ourselves an allotment, we loved it and we learnt so much from those around us, from books and just from trial and error (or sheer bloody mindedness). Now we have a really large allotment to play with, plus an orchard. It has taken two years of hard slog and effort to get to where we are now, however we did learn some cunning tricks along the way. We worked our guts out to get the polytunnel up and the first beds functioning, however once we got the bare minimum in order we changed tack a little. We also have a meadow to manage and that we cut late in the autumn, as we are
managing it as a flower rich meadow we cut it too late for good hay, but it does leave us with a lot of grass! We therefore decided to use it as a mulch which we then covered with a semi permeable black liner. After twelve months we ended up with beautiful crumbly soil that is very rich and great to work with, it is also stacked full of worms, aerating the soil and giving it its wonderful texture. We are on a clay, so a fair amount of our land is bog or wet woodland, where the vegetable garden is it is protected from the worst of the elements, it used to have the muck heaps on from horses and is about the driest area, plus it was mainly grass when we arrived so we didn’t feel like we were ruining a lovely habitat. Now we have an orchard of about twenty apple, pear, cherry and plum trees and six functioning beds; I am so looking forward to this years harvest!