Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Time To Start Digging My 'No Dig Beds'

It’s time to Get Digging.  Normally I take a ’no dig' approach to the beds on my plot.  I  put a dressing   of manure and compost  on the top soil in the Autumn and then sit back and let the worms and frost do the work.  But this year, here in Hampshire, we have had almost no frost  - at least not yet!  My soil after all the rain became water logged  and is hard  and compacted and frost and ice crystals have not broken up the soil texture. Then the worms have not been at their usual task of  drag down the compost and manure which usually disappears over winter.  So it is time to get out the fork, spade and plank to stand on and start digging.

lovely photo  ofLangstone Harbour
Emsworth Wildlife Society
I do not have to dig to deeply and I will be adding some seaweed to the soil.  There are banks  ofseaweed on the mud flats around Langstone Harbour but it is  designated a site of special scientific interest or a special area of conservation and therefore  should not be collect for the allotment.   I use liquid seaweed extract and calcified Sea weed, from a sustainable source. Calcified  Seaweed is a good soil improver, especially after such a wet winter.  It can also be used instead of lime, it provides a useful source of potassium, magnesium and trace elements which may by missing from some popular fertilizers.e. These trace elements are important for healthy growth .During the growing period I use liquid seaweed extract as a foliar feed on vegetable plants and flowers.. It give a real boast to the cosmos plants after they have been flowering for a while and they flourish afterwards and flower profusely until the Autumn.

RHS Acantheae

While I have been waiting for the soil to dry out enough to work on, I have made an arch to one of the entrances to my plot and moved  my Tansy and a hyssop to new growing sites.  One advantage of wet soil is that these deep rooted herbs came out of the ground easily.  I have created a willow cage over the the Lovage as it  is near a path and it is easy to step on the growing crown.  I made one also for the Bears Breaches plant (Acantheae) which I have grown from seed.  Again it is near the edge of a path and after three years waiting for it to flower I would hate it to be crushed  through a carelessly placed boot. Here is a picture of what it should look like this summer.  If it does flower I will have a great sense of satisfaction of having grown it from seed but perhaps getting a root division would have been quicker and easier.  

The past weekend was lovely and I enjoyed being at my plot pottering around the edges of the bed doing  the jobs I could do.  Maybe this week I will be even be able to cut the grass and dig some - a bed ready to plant my early Potatoes,

With Reiki blessings