Quite a bit of work got done this weekend. Daz had found out about a manure pile in a farmers field close to the town that he's from originally, so we drove down there, filled 8 sacks and then carried them to the plot. The carrying from the car round the houses and down to the plot was the hard part, although we eased it somewhat by using the wheelbarrow to run the sacks from the end of the lane to the plot itself. We were quite excited by the manure -it's good stuff, completely rotted down and with no smell, just a rich brown crumbly mixture.
I'd picked up a roll of wire earlier in the morning so we stapled it to an old door with windows/panels missing, thus making a giant soil sieve. Quite heavy, but incredibly effective.
On Sunday morning I got up the plot and did some minor chores -starting a fire, transferring some water into the water butt and loosening the newer beds with a fork. Daz turned up and we started to sieve. Despite the sieve making fairly light work of each load of soil we put in it, there was a lot of it. We sieved roughly a third before having a break to do some planting. And then repeated the exercise, sieve, plant, sieve, plant. In the end we were left with a beautifully finely sifted bed, with a light bit of manure forked through and planted up with various veg. Our planting ideas may be a bit wonky, but at least we've got stuff in the ground now. Bed 2 now contains mostly roots and alliums, elephant garlic, 4 varieties of carrot (James Scarlet Intermediate, Sweet Armenian, John's Purple, Yellow), spring onion (Toga -red), Beetroot (Dobie's Purple, Pink Barbabietola), red onion (Baron), yellow leek (Jaune De Poiteux) and parsnip. I also chucked another three rows of the mixed salad leaves in the first bed.
Martin turned up with his baby for a bit of a look. I was able to proudly point out the lines of mixed salad leaves that had just germinated, the original three rows all now having little green seedlings down them. He was impressed by the amount of work that we'd done and quite liked the look of the fruit bushes that we'd left in from the previous owners.
All in all a tiring, yet productive day.