Thursday, 9 April 2015

Doing the Unthinkable

Wednesday was another glorious April day but a little cooler than the previous two days.

I decided to try a little bit of cultivating on the plot. We are in need of a bed to get some of our onions and shallots planted out that have happily been growing in modules in the cold-frame and greenhouse at home.
Once on the plot I decided to try cultivating the bed on plot 42, allocated for onions this year. There are four small beds for which we carry out a four year crop rotation. If that bed dug satisfactorily my plan was to dig the adjacent bed which is due to be planted up with peas.
These two beds dug very well with the soil breaking down into a fine tilth.  Once this was done the weed control fabric used for each of these crops last year was moved back into place. 
I thought I’d next try my luck on the bed which had been hand dug over in autumn and left for the winter’s frost and rain to break down the soil. This didn't work and the soil remained in large hard lumps. Weeds are now starting to grow especially creeping buttercup which can soon take over large area if not kept in check.
The problem was that it was impossible to dig out the roots of the weeds as the soil just stuck to the roots in clumps. It didn't seem to be too wet but by the time the soil had been bashed off the roots lots of pieces of root were scattered on the soil in any case. I didn't know whether to leave the bed in the hope that the soil condition would improve at some time in the future or to do what any self-respecting gardener wouldn't do, and dig the weeds in, using my cultivator to break up the soil. I decided on the latter.
The cultivator broke up the large hard lumps of soil into much smaller lumps of hard soil but the bed did look much better. It still needs to be broken down into a better tilth and of course there’s going to be a problem with weeds. I’m considering just covering the bed with weed control fabric and digging it over again when I have some time. I’m not at all sure why the soil in this bed has finished up in this condition.  

1 comment:

  1. The organic solution to ANY soil issue: "Be sure to incorporate plenty well rotten manure....."


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