I have pricked out onions, celery, cauliflower and cabbage into trays or pots using the New Horizon's general purpose compost. I have put all of these onto the shelves inside the polythene "greenhouse" I have put into the big greenhouse. Not only will this keep them a little more protected from frost but will bring them on a little.
I went down the allotment yesterday and continued to tidy the comfrey bed. I don't know if I have straightened all the lines of comfrey because they have died back and I could not find all of the plants. They are more or less straight now though. I have constructed the sundial here as well.
I put some black dustbins over the rhubarb, Rheum rhaponticum, to force it a little. This will mean that we can get some good petioles at the end of March and the beginning of April. The skill is to remove the bins before the rhubarb becomes too weakened. I heaped some of the horse muck around the bottom of the bins to heat them up and bring the rhubarb on a little quicker.
I have taken out the black currant cuttings because they have some big bud on them. I think that the severe pruning I did on the main bushes has cleared off the big bud, Cecidophyopsis ribis, from them. They look quite healthy. I replaced two that died over the winter with cuttings that I had potted up. I think that I am going to bury the plants that I took out.
I wasn't going to dig this area over; just hoe and use the three pronged cultivator to rake it over. However if I am going to bury these blackcurrant bushes, I might as well dig the rest over as well. I will have to bury the blackcurrants quite deep to avoid them depleting the soil of nitrogen and to prevent the big bud mite from escaping into the top soil.
I have started in earnest on the celery bed. I dug out a trench and then sieved horse manure and pigeon muck into the next spit down. I dug up the remains of the beans and peas that I had dug into this bed but they broke down and sieved into the soil just as the manure did. There are some plane tree leaves Platanus x hispanica which are a little thick and rubbery in the horse muck. I didn't think that they would go through the sieve but they did and you cannot make them out now because they are mixed in so well with the soil. I am trying to keep this trench lower than the surrounding soil so that I can keep the celery damp throughout the year.
We may have major problems with drought this summer because they are saying that the water table is very low now. I hope that I have added enough organic matter to take up any rain water that we get and provide a reservoir which the plants can tap into. I am going to try to use mychorrhizal fungi on all the plants that form associations with it because this may help in lessening the effect of drought.