Rain starts play

It’s not often that rain brings on activity – most of the time we huddle up under duvets and watch old films, but if you’re an allotment holder, this week’s heavy rain will have been a blessing.

Our clayish soil is like terracotta – once it gets dry you can’t get a fork into it. Where we’ve already double dug, and especially where the spuds have been, it’s fine, you can turn it even when it’s bone dry, but the undug part of the allotment, where it’s full of grass and perennial weeds, is literally impenetrable. Our Jerusalem artichokes finally flowered and they do a good job of breaking up the soil too, but they are getting attacked by thistles.

So this rain will help. I shall dig up the old strawberry bed this week, and put all the old plants out to compost. Then the new strawberry plants will go in a raised bed that’s already prepared. But we’ve given into circumstance and will have the top quarter of the plot, that we never got to this year, strimmed and then rotovated. I’ll cover it with weed suppressing membrane and plant through it in the spring – courgettes and squashes will do fine there and planting through the membrane means we can get some value out of the ground while still keeping the weeds underground and under cover so that they weaken. I know it’s the fool’s option to rotovate, but with half the plot still to dig by hand, I know I’m just not going to get to the wasteland unless I give in and go for mechanised assistance.

Good news is that the Swedes Len gave me as seedlings are putting on a fine show in the raised bed that had lettuce in all summer. They are planted through membrane too, and as I can’t remember a year when we ate more than nine Swedes, I reckon this will take us through the winter comfortably.

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Tuesday, October 6, 2009


OpenID allotments4you.com said...

don't be too dis-heartened that you are having to go the rotavator route..it happens to the best of us!!

October 6, 2009 at 12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

excuse my ignorance... what is wrong with rotovating? it seems like an effective way to deal with larger areas rather than digging over by hand..

October 15, 2009 at 12:57 PM  
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March 1, 2010 at 9:36 AM  

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