Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Planning For Early Planting

As widely forecast Monday became our mildest day of the year so far as the temperature reached 14.2°C or 57.6F.
Temperature (red), Wind Chill (blue) and High Wind Speed (purple) Records for 20 February 2017
However, it's best not to judge a day by temperature alone. As the temperature hit the high spot so did the wind speed as gale force winds toppled the bird feeding station. I'll have to find some heavier pieces of stone to stop it from blowing over.
As you can see from the wind chill line it felt a couple of degrees colder than it actually was. Add into the mix that it was a dull day with spells of light drizzle at times then it wasn't a gardening sort of a day.

I did start working out where our early crops will be going in one of our allotments. This particular plot contains our refurbished rose bed and has four small beds which are rotated annually with potatoes, brassicas, peas and onions. The remainder of the plot is taken up with soft fruit, apple and pear trees together with our greenhouse and shed. It's usually the first plot to be fully planted up.
This is how it looked on Sunday. On three of the beds we use weed control fabric. Only our early potatoes will be planted without the fabric. These will be first earlies Casablanca and I find them much easier to harvest if they are planted in a more conventional manner. The weed control fabric gets rotated along with its associated crop. The fabric is still in place from last year crops and the first job will be to move the three pieces in a clockwise direction as viewed on the photograph. The brassica bed had three barrowfulls of compost added to it on Sunday. I'm planning to add some fish, blood and bone fertiliser followed by some lime before lightly forking over the bed. I don't want to dig the bed over as brassicas prefer to be planted in firmer soil.

I've plenty of compost left so I'm planning to add some to each of the three other beds when I rotate the fabric.
My plan is to start rotating and preparing these four beds on our next visit to the plot providing the weather doesn't spoil my plans. It is still winter after all.


  1. Your logic for this part of your domain corresponds to the logic I use for my single plot - except I lift the weed control fabric from rear (the alliums soon to be this years spuds) and redeploy it in the new brassica patch (last years spuds)
    Brassicas are difficult because they are so hungry and also need lime and like firm ground. My solution was to dig in manure (as well as applying BF&B and calcified seaweed as a top dressing) but then to tread progressively across the whole patch in the traditional brassica boot shuffle before topping off with fabric. It occurred to me while I was doing this that it would be most effective to arrange a party on the brassica patch for the beneficial side effect of firming up the ground underfoot. A brassica wassailing anyone?

    1. The only bit I don't do is tread the soil down. Some of our beds are hard enough to dig over without me standing on them. Cabbages usually heart up and sprouts form hard buttons so I assume that's because the ground is firm enough. Otherwise I'd tread the ground firm as you suggest.


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