I think 8am might be the earliest I’ve been at the allotment. I followed Leo out of the estate with my wood on his van. I was able to take this panorama before the day’s work began and everything changed.

I pulled up all the chard and remaining beetroot, not least to get them out of the way of big feet. At least some of the beetroot will be usable. With that, the harvests for 2021 are all done.

Parts of the allotment were underwater from rain last night and it didn’t take long for the green grass to be turned into mud. Mum brought down my new door mat, which was helpful for going in and out of the shed, and I scurfed up the old one and all its grass.

The post holes made for securing the bed frames were all full of water, so the waves of liquid mud were amusing to watch when being refilled. The original plan had been for concreting the posts, but I nixed that when I got wind of it.

The robin only turned up when the guys left to get wood, and at the end of the day. On the first visit I treated him to some mealworms. Mum had brought down a new suet coconut too, as the first had been emptied.

It was too wet to attempt any weeding, but I found some jobs to do around the place. I mulched where I’d weeded before on the left boundary. Maybe a third of the bed remains to be weeded and mulched, assuming the ground dries out enough at some point.

I also sorted our latest collection of hügel sticks, chucking out anything I couldn’t break. I have a couple of armfuls of larger pieces which I need to bring home to break down further with some tool or other.

I’d left the bed edging in place so as to show where the edges were, but then the first job was to take them up. I was taking them up nicely, scraping them off a little and stacking them. The guys pinged them up (faster) with a spade and heaved them down the side of the shed. I’m hoping that the coming rain might wash them off a little and then I’ll make a nicer pile.

I’m sure I have too many of them, but I have one use in mind already: filling the strange hole at the bottom of the outside of my fence. I cut the grass back from the fence on the outside and I need to put some weedkiller on the grass that’s right on the fence line. Then I want to put a layer of one or two pieces in the groove.

The beds were done by around 3pm, with the poor grass looking a bit worse for wear. I’ll be in touch with Leo early next year with regard to evening the ground and turfing it. I took the opportunity today to dig out a bunch of dandelions and buttercups between the edging coming up and the beds going down. When the grass is cleaner and easier to see, I also plan to put weedkiller on other weeds and on anything that looks like it has been caught underneath the frames.

I’ve got lots of work ahead of me and since I don’t know if or when the ground will dry off a bit this side of Christmas, I’m not sure yet what my plan is. Some of the beds hadn’t been weeded yet, but with the ground being dug up, those weeds are now a bit churned up. It might be that they get proper cardboard covering rather than weeding. There are also going to be decisions to be made about spreading leaves and sticks, and where and how deep etc. So some sun and drainage would be helpful.