Tuesday, 25 March 2014
After a cold and frosty start Monday was a beautiful sunny day. We didn't manage to resist the temptation to visit the plot in the afternoon.
Any regular followers will know that from the beginning of last year’s growing season we have been making maximum use of weed control fabric and that we've been very pleased with the results.
This is how our bed of brassicas on plot 42 looked after planting up last year. To be honest apart from harvesting some cabbages and cauliflowers this bed has had very little attention since. The weed control fabric did its job. The grass paths do creep into the beds but that’s to be expected.
This is how the bed looked on Monday afternoon after being left all winter without any attention. I was hoping that the bed wasn't going to need digging but when I actually saw the state it was in I wasn't too sure I was going to be that lucky. The canes, supports and netting were removed first. Then the tops cut off the cabbages and added to the compost heap. The brassica roots were put in a bucket to go in the council green recycling bin at home. Interestingly the roots didn't appear to have any signs of club root so I can only conclude that some parts of the plot are affected by this and not others. I’ll need to keep a note of the affected beds and make sure no brassicas are planted in them.
Once the fabric was removed and the grass path roughly edged the soil didn't look too bad. It certainly hadn't been battered into a hard solid surface by winter rains as normally happens. I gave the soil a sprinkling of fish, blood and bone and lightly forked it into the top few inches of soil.
The final result looked pretty good. I've never been able to use a bed for a second year without digging it over in spring. The beds on this plot are part of a four year rotation. The weed control fabric on the bed on the left of the photo was lifted and placed over this bed. This will be used for peas this year and of course the fabric already has the correct cuts in it as it comes from last year’s pea growing bed.
The bed’s now ready for two rows of peas to be sown probably towards the end of April. This year we’re only sowing peas directly rather than in pots and transplanting. All I need to do now is wake my strimmer from its winter slumbers and cut the grass which is growing rather too quickly for my liking.
Having cleared another bed of its cover that too looked as though it would be fine without been dug over. If the other three beds are as easy to prepare as this one I’ll be very pleased.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 09:09