Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Winter digging.

It is all right getting  over to the allotment early but it means that you have to dig for even longer.  I arrived at the allotment round about 8:45 and inspected the digging done yesterday.

I am still trench triple digging adding brushwood to the  lowest layer.  However, I have run out of brushwood to bury.  I have  taken the hedge back as far as is  sensible and even worked back behind the old compost heap.  I have also used most of the old compost and all of the pigeon manure.

I still have a little pruning to do in the garden, however after this there will be nothing to bury.  I am not  too bothered now because it  is getting towards the planting season and I want to finish before the end of February.  So, I have decided  to carry on double trench digging.  I will still sieve; primarily to  get stones  for the path  and shed foundations but I will  not worry about burying.  If prunings come  to  hand then  it  will  be easy to revert to the triple digging.

One of the beds was quite heavily manured before I took on the allotment and this is being mixed into  the top soil.

Having so much Calystegia sepium and Equisetum arvensis is  really slowing me down but the sieving using the bread tray is very effective in removing the rhizomes.  They seem to be growing through an old pile of leaves that has virtually rotted away.  I do not want to loose any of this fibrous leaf mould so I am carefully extracting rhizomes wherever I find  them.

I cannot stop using the sieve because there are so  many rhizomes  growing right into the beds  and you cannot be  sure where they are.  I will just keep going regardless.  

I had walked over to the new allotment and  gotten myself tired  so I  was not inclined to bring home the bindweed and mare's tail rhizomes which I was going to photograph for this blog.   However I will at some time.

It is all right me talking about these rhizomes but, if you don't  know what they look like, it will  be difficult to  make sure  you get them  out.  They are very pernicious and spread everywhere.

I have taken the  tarpaulins off the soil and put them  into the lean  too next  to  the shed and I am slowly putting all the carpets onto  the next door  allotment.  I am hoping that this will keep the weeds from growing and spreading to my allotment.

The next door allotment does not seem to have been done for about three years at least.  I think that someone is paying rent for it but I  will dig it over if they do not do anything with it this year.

I pricked out all the tomatoes, sweet corn, pumpkins, squashes, and beans into Gro Char charcoal compost.   They are still in the hot house and will stay there until  they get a little bigger.  This is the first time that I have sown some of  these tender vegetables this early in the year but I need them to at least be in flower for the show garden in June.  Whether I  will be successful  remains to be seen, however I am quite enjoying having  a go. It is not whether you can get these seeds to germinate; it is whether you can keep them alive during the cold weather.  I really need  some propagation lights to ensure that they  are  flowering around  the middle  of June.  I am  going to give them a good dose of comfrey liquid twice a week to  see if that will  bring them  on.

I pricked out the cauliflower in the cold house and remarkably they seem to have survived the cold  weather.  I am hoping to grow  these quite large.  My big cabbages still  need to be pricked out into three inch pots.  I will do that tomorrow.  Also, I have some Swift early potatoes that I was going to put into charcoal compost for  the  show  garden and  I really should plant  them now and keep them  in the heated green house.  Swift will grow very quickly and  possibly be in  flower for  the middle of June.  I will also plant some  later to  make  sure that they do not come too  soon.

The rest of the onions need to be  sown  now and  I will make  a second  sowing of leeks.  If I can keep the Phytomyza gymnostoma  off them I might get some decent sized ones this year.  I am going to cover them all with a large enviromesh supported by water pipes.  It looks a bit unsightly but  it is effective.

I really need to get up to the old allotment and plant the broad  beans, shallots and  garlic.  I have some plastic cloches so these will be used to give them a little more protection.

Now  that the weather has got a lot warmer, I will plant the rest of the sweet peas.  I might even have a go  at sowing them in some of the Gro Char charcoal compost.  The sweet peas that I planted in December have started to  germinate.  The cold  weather did not do them any harm.

So lots to do and the season has not really begun yet.

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