I’ve been planning the perfect blogpost / youtube video combo, but quite frankly if I carry on flaffing around I’m not going to achieve anything. So I’ve decided to pop some thoughts and some footage together (which is what blogging is supposed to be about anyway) and upload it. Get it out there.
The most exciting news is that our allotment foxes have had fox-cubs. If the parents are last year’s brother and sister I am calling social services. They are very cute. In the video I describe there being two cubs when in fact three appear on screen. Altogether: aaaah…
Most of the site are behaving like over enthusiastic grandparents, cooing, running around busily and getting overwhelmed. I say “most”, there are always one or to miserable sods in any group. The danger is one of them starts phoning pest control or laying down poison.
Anyway, the foxes have been here two years so there can’t be many miserable sods, or at least vulpinocidal ones. I have to apologise for my whiny, girlish exclamations on the video, please ignore.
It is Easter and it is well known that the bible calls all true Englishmen to plant their potatoes on this day; I believe it is in Ecclesiastes. I’ve planted some but I’ve yet to finish the job. Though there is still a biting cold wind even though the sun is warming everything up. A little mares-tail and a lot of bindweed are appearing (allotments are hostile and infested environments when neglected) and where I am doing no-dig, I am using a trowel to fish them out. Those areas where I am digging – I am comparing the effects of hoeing off green manures in a no-dig system against digging in green manures – I dig as deeply as I can and remove all the bindweed roots.
Have I said Charles Dowding is the master? Everything he advises, works! In my back garden I didn’t dig but instead laid a one inch layer of compost on the surface. The effects have been superb. But, I hear you ask, what about those pesky perennial weeds, like the bindweed I just mentioned? He says that he uses a trowel to keep removing it. I have only just started doing this with the bindweed on the allotment, but at home I have been doing it very successfully with the enchanter’s nightshade which is spreading by roots underground.
The back garden has been looking good for a month or so now and I feel I have got to grips with it. The allotment, much less so. I have spent two days digging, hoeing and planting. It is still infested with mares-tail and to a lesser extent bindweed. But the soil is very easy to dig (unlike my last plot).
I am now putting one and a half of my two green manured beds into vegetable production. Half of these beds I am hoeing off the green manure and leaving the trimmings as a mulch and the other half I am digging in. The mulched, no-dig areas are infested with slugs whereas the dug areas are not. However the digging takes extra effort and we won’t know about yield until the end of the season. I will say, though, that the garlic I planted in a dug area has really fat stems, though this could also be down to the field beans I had there previously. I had noticed in my last plot that field beans did seem to do the business by boosting nitrogen. Other areas have had other nitrogen fixers like clover.
The green manures were laid down for 18 months ( a season plus an overwinter from previous season). I won’t be adding any fertilisers, manures or composts to these areas but I will use a proportionate amount of the compost I made from onsite materials this last year. There are seven beds so these beds will receive no more than 2/7 ths of the total amount of compost.
Anyway, that’s all for now.
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