Friday, 25 March 2011

Double digging - the first trench.

The soil temperature was 14oC today.  I think that it is safe to start to sow seeds now.

First trench 
 I took out the first trench putting the top soil and the subsoil in separate piles on the adjacent half of the allotment.  The skimmed off weeds are just in front of the the soil piles and I will be adding these to the trench next.

Split your allotment into two halves and work down one half then up the other half.  

 You can just about see the blueish string line that is showing where half the allotment is.  The shed is Barry's and not part of my allotment.  This part of the allotment is not too weedy probably because the soil is so poor.   There are an awful lot of mares tail though.  I was pulling the roots out of the third spit of the trench.
Trench forked over at the bottom.  

You can see the standard of the soil.  It is more builder's sand than soil.  I have removed two spits of soil and then forked over the bottom spit.  The idea is to add a lot of carbon in order to improve the drainage.  I  put two black current bushes in the bottom of the trench.  These were covered with the old brassicae plants and then I put the skimmed weeds on top of that.  I skimmed off quite a few of the weeds to the right of the picture and filled the trench with them.  I made the trench about 2 feet wide so that I had more room to do things.  This means that another two feet of top soil needs to be removed and put next to the piles on the other side of the allotment.  Now that I have skimmed off these weeds I will have a relatively clean space to put the soil.
The bad end of the allotment.  

  As you can see there are plenty of weeds.  The carpet will go.  The Allotment Committee is going to order a skip and we are only going to put carpets, glass and car tyres in it.  Why do people bring all this rubbish onto the allotment.

Will I get this done this year?  I don't know at the moment.  Regardless of anything else it will improve this area of the allotment site a little.  The bloke who has the one next to this is a good gardener so we will benefit each other if we can keep these allotments clean.

 There is still a lot more to do but I will take this very easily.

I planted out all the Blue Danube sweet peas using inoculated charcoal and rootgrow mychorrhizal fungi.

Mychorrhizal Fungi

They were watered in with rain water.  There is something eating my sweet pea seedlings.  It looks a bit like flea beetle damage.  I will monitor the plants carefully.

Next,  I took out the two blackcurrant bushes that I put into the double digging trench and replaced them with two cuttings with no big bud mite on them.

I began to make a space for the parsnips to be sown into by moving some of the broad beans onto  the brassicae bed.  I will eventually have two or three lines of broad beans.


  1. Is there a local garden contractor who'd be glad of a place to dump grass cuttings and dead leaves? We have them delivered by the ton, and I mulch everything with the stuff. Does wonders for the soil.

  2. Hi Robert,
    Yes we have garden contractors that leave shredded branches, leaves and lawn mowings. There is also a kind shire horse owner that puts manure onto the allotment site too. I will be using all of these in the trenches when I run out of weeds.