New allotment – the ground we work with

My allotment federation has the following advice: Allotments that have not been worked for many years or have had nothing put back in to the soil would benefit from an annual application of manure or mushroom compost. If supplies are limited, concentrate it where you intend to grow potatoes or members of the cabbage family. If you practise crop rotation you will gradually improve the whole area. Start a compost bin immediately and recycle as much organic matter as possible.

Well, our soil is really not that bad. Wonderful Duncan dug a whole lorry load of manure into the first half of the plot and it’s produced fantastic potatoes and onions, and the courgettes are thriving, so that’s good. The second half of the plot though, is still ‘unimproved’. We’re rough digging a couple of rows every time we go up and mainly trying to take out as much couch grass as possible (it is definitely our best crop so far!) – I’m spreading the removed perennial weeds out on a slab of carpet to dry, as several books say that once it’s totally desiccated you can just stamp it to smithereens and put it in the compost. Stamping on couch grass could become my favourite hobby!

It seems to have good water holding capacity and it definitely clods up when wet so there’s a lot of clay in there, but its not chalky, which was a big worry as many allotments in our area are. All in all I think we’ve been very lucky. The test will be when we establish an asparagus bed … maybe next year!

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Tuesday, June 17, 2008


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