Newspaper pots, crowbars and two tons of poo.

Its no secret to those that follow me on twitter that I am getting increasingly frustrated and disillusioned with the sheer work that I need to put into my allotment to even start growing anything. I have inherited a rectangle of grass with trenches. I did my best to keep positive with every spade full of clay I heaved up and out of the ground, trying to create a raised boarder and ending up with a slippery death trap. I covered the majority of it with plastic and have been using that to try and kill back some of the grass but nature refuses to accelerate the process.


After a bit of grumbling and a final admission that no, I don’t know what I’m doing I was given some wonderful advice from Sara at Edible Bristol (she also blogs here) and Andrew (Blogs here) who’s patient and enthusiastic hand-holding and encouragement gave me the boot up the arse I needed to find the joy in what i was doing, not the slog.  With clay I have two options, raised beds or forking in manure. I missed the boat on adopting the no dig method for this year if I wanted to get on and grow things so  will be looking at incorporating that onto the plot somehow over the winter.


I bit the bullet and ordered a ton of well rotted cow manure, it gets tipped right on the path by the plot and I had three lovely strong bodies as well as my own to help shift mine and my plot buddies tons. I had struggle to picture what a ton of well rotted cow manure looks like, so here you go. Marvellous.


It took 4 hours to get both the piles moved and it was all I could do with the strength I had left to dump a few wheelbarrows on the crap looking beds I had previously made, rake flat and recover with plastic. I wish I could have done more but i could barely function. We did find more slow worms though, 10 of the little guys. Love me a slow worm and they should keep the slugs down.


Whilst feeling disappointed that I don’t have the time to get up to my plot more that once, or at a push, twice a week at weekends I have been focusing on newspaper pots. As a new grower I have been throwing any seeds I could get my grubby hands on and chucking them in seed trays etc to see if anything would grow, luckily, life finds a way and I have a plethora of seedlings to plant. Downside is they all need carefully taking out of the shared pot and popping into a single newspaper pot ready for planting in the next few weeks. I am jumping on anyone that might be near a newspaper at the moment and am spending nights in front of Masterchef rolling newspaper around a Worcester sauce bottle, taping, filling with soil and swearing when I snap another set of roots off my brussel sprouts.


I also tried my hand at crowbarring pallets apart ready to be nailed back together as raised beds, I shall let you know how that goes and if I end up in A&E. I think we all agree the crowbar completes the look though.


6 Replies to “Newspaper pots, crowbars and two tons of poo.”

  1. Brave woman! Look forward to finding out how you progress, so please keep posting updates. The first year is bound to be tough, but by next spring you should have an easier time. If you would like any more seeds, please pm me: I rarely use up a whole packet and would be glad to pass them on.

    Love the slow worms!

  2. One of the top tips I keep reading about/seeing is to make sure you cover the ground around your plants with a layer of mulch, preferably wood chips, leaves or something organic. It helps the soil stop getting too dried out in Summer, and that is a biggy if you’re unlikely to get there every day to water.

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