Tuesday, 25 January 2011

A dark and dismal January day.

Garlic and broad beans seem to be surviving well but it is still very early days.  We still have one more week of January to go and there is forecast some more cold weather.

Two lines of garlic were planted in October last year and now about 6 inches tall.  They have been planted with inoculated charcoal and mychorrhizal fungi.  The frost tends to bring the charcoal to the surface but I don't think you can see it particularly well on this photograph. 
These are the broad beans that have germinated.  There are big gaps in the row as there was last year but I expect them to germinate as soon as the weather warms a little more.  You can see the difference between this soil and the soil in the onion and garlic bed.  The soil from this area was totally replaced by the council due to contamination.

The new soil was from an organic farm but had a very large proportion of stone in it.  Four allotment holders had their soil replaced completely while I only had the bottom bed of my allotment replaced.  You can see that even with a great deal of stone taken off, there is still a lot in this soil.  The other thing you can see is the charcoal that I used last year under the Onward peas.  I found the inoculated charcoal very effective especially on this poorer soil.

I have raised up the level of the soil using a mixture of turf, weeds, leaves and compost.  This has helped to drain this soil.  It was full of large lumps of clay and needed a great deal of working before it would grow anything substaintial.  I am hoping that the broad beans will add a little nitrogen to the soil here because I want to grown roots after the broad beans have fruited.  The rhubarb is in the background and is just starting to bud.  However,  I don't expect it to start growing substantially for another couple of months. 

This cyclamen is growing at the side of the sweet pea and runner bean bed.  I have added a lot of gravel to this area and the cyclamen seem to be enjoying it.  Some of the other bulbs are beginning to show now.

The soil in this bed is particularly fertile having a lot of organic matter added to it. It has been sieved thoroughly.  Most of the stones on this bed are 1/4 inch or less.  If you look carefully at this soil you can just see the charcoal that has been added.

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