Saturday, 31 December 2011

Getting fed up of sieving the potato bed soil.

  I got a bit fed up of sieving the soil today.  I am mixing in some new horse manure and the pigeon muck as well as sieving out the stones.  The ground has become very wet over the last few days and this means that the soil is a little more reluctant to go through the holes in the bread tray sieve.

It is really time consuming and I am wondering whether to give it up for a while and continue to remove the rest of the stones next autumn.

Sieving is good exercise and produces a very friable soil.  The ground is free of cropping vegetables - the beetroot and the carrots are clamped and the parsnips soon will be.  So, I might as well sieve the soil  now and get it over and done with.

The number of stones that are in this soil is remarkable.  It was replacement soil for contaminated soil that was on my allotment and several others. The new soil was supposed to be top quality organic soil.  I am not sure whether it was organic because it was clay, full of stone and empty of both nutrients and body.  When a soil has no obvious organic matter or small creatures you start to wonder if this soil was treated with chemical fertilisers.  These chemicals will kill off things like worms because there is no organic matter in the soil for them to feed on.

This new soil has reacted really well to the addition of copious amounts of  compost, manure and cultivation.  The soil is finally becoming workable.  I am hoping that cultivating the potatoes will help to break it up  and work in the organic matter a little more.

I took the top off a 210 litre blue plastic butt to make a water barrel.  We have had a lot of rain recently and I am missing collecting it.  The down spout was reinstated - it had fallen off in the wind. I am going to duck tape it to the guttering to secure it and then put a small screw through it.  The down spout is tied in securely with wire.

There were quite a few slugs in my beer traps a few days ago.  I emptied them  into the comfrey butt and replaced the beer.  I looked today but there were no new slugs in the beer.   I am happy about the beer traps being effective.

I put some horse muck on the new sweet pea bed and if I have any left over from the potato bed I will use the left overs on the sweet peas.

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