Monday, 10 June 2013

Rain Required?

Sunday morning was dull but the sun came out in the afternoon.

As I’d planned. it was time to dig over the bed where the green manure had been growing over winter. As it was warm and sunny I decided to let my cultivator do the hard work of tilling the bed. It was surprising just how hard and dry this patch of ground had become. It was hard work even with the help of a cultivator as it struggled to break into the soil. Our soil does have a high clay content and once it dries out it becomes more like concrete than soil. Digging and breaking up this ground by hand would have been a long and back breaking job. 
Eventually I thought the bed was cultivated to a suitable depth. Ideally I would have liked to dig over the ground a little deeper but didn't think it was going to be possible. This bed grew potatoes last year and was dug over to a fork’s depth early last autumn when the potatoes were harvested so I expected it to be in better condition than this having grown the green manure crop over winter.

At the moment then the jury’s out on the benefits of growing a green manure crop over winter. Certainly it kept the weeds down but did it take a lot of the moisture out of the ground. Perhaps it should have been dug in much earlier but doing that in early spring would mean lots of weeds would have germinated by now. Maybe the ground has just dried out as it’s a few weeks now since we had any significant rainfall.
Our runner beans Enorma, Desiree, and St George together with a wigwam of climbing french beans Cobra were planted. We'll definitely have to keep these well water until we get some decent rainfall.

Original post from A Gardener's Weather Diary author M Garrett


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