Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Last of the tomatoes and squashes.

A frost was forecast so I decided to harvest the rest of the tomatoes and squashes.  The plants had fallen over with the weight of the fruit on them and become a little dirty.  I gave them a good wash and left them to dry.

Some of these will be left in paper bags to ripen off.  Others will be used to make chutney.  The squash are not very big but I think they taste better when they are this size. They will probably be roasted.

The tomato plants have been put into large, empty compost bags to bring home and put into the green bin.  They are not diseased but I still want to be sure that I do not contaminate the soil with blight spores.

The pumpkins are getting really big now and I will have difficulty taking them home.  I want to weigh them on the bathroom scales to see how much they weigh.  They are not the biggest I have ever seen but they are not too bad.

I am using an old bread basket to sieve the new potato bed soil.  It seems to be just the right mesh.  The holes are about 1 inch square.  I am getting quite a lot of stone out of both the top and the subsoil.


The subsoil is particularly hard and full of stone.  I have to use a fork to get into it. However, I am determined to sieve as much of the soil as I can before the cold weather starts to close in.  

 It looks quite benign in these pictures but that subsoil is a tough old nut.  I could go deeper but it would take a lot longer for little effect.

You can see that I have been burying the old strawberry plants at the bottom of the trench and old horse muck is being sieved into the top soil.

So I put about three spade fulls of top soil to one of horse muck.  This is just right because the soil forms a cluster around the muck and allows it to fall through the holes.  So the sieve allows the soil to be mixed while removing the larger stones.  I don't mind a few stones in the soil because they keep the soil open: they may add nutrients when they are weathered and they can help with soil drainage.  

I am using this old spade because the ground is so stony.  I would much rather use a stainless steel spade because little of the soil sticks to the blade.  
Gave my tools a clean when the Sun went down just to keep standards up.  

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