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in Fruit & veg
Have other gardeners noticed the state of the soil which was dug in the autumn? This practice is usually guaranteed to give us a most marvellous fine tilth come the spring. Not this year sadly, we have missed the frosts haven't we? It is going to be difficult to have fine soil for seed sowing.
We're lucky - when we moved here we found we had very free draining sandy loam and over the past couple of years we've dug lots and lots of home made compost and well rotted farmyard manure into it - I dug this patch over and raked it a fortnight ago, and sowed some beetroot today.
However, when the summer comes we'll be watering the veg before people in other parts of the country.
Yes Cowslip - for those of us that have heavy clay (mine red clay) it is going to be a battle. Oh to have lovely soil to work on like Dove's.
Managed to dig my trench for the runnerbeans, we have clay soil and it is still very heavy.
Tried preparing a short section of autumn dug ground for seed sowing bur still too sticky, needs another week of dry weather I reckon.
Best to keep off heavy soil right now scroggin. My soil is sandy loam that drains very well but it will still need a few more days of dry warm weather before it can be worked.
Yes you're right Verdun but as I am only digging the bean trench I am not compacting it, I will add compost and manure to the trench and then backfill. I tried hoeing a few weeds to test the soil on an autumn dug patch to see what its like. I wont be walking directly on the soil for a while yet.
My clay soil has developed a surface to it that looks like the sand when the tide is out so I just broke that up a bit with the hoe hoping it would dry out better. I think all the rain beat it smooth as if it had been trodden on. I will be starting all my annuals in plugs this year not straight in the ground. Next job is to aerate my lawn with a fork when it's a bit drier.
Very apt desciption Mrs G, mine looks just like that too. At least things are improving and that I'm hopeful the soil will be workable when I need to start planting out in a month or so.
I managed to rotovate our veg garden at the weekend and planted the spuds I've been chitting for a few weeks. I was amazed how decent the soil was despite A: Clay,and B: endless rain. I now know why the previous owner put the veg garden where it is.
Our veg area is a raised bed out in by the previous owners, don't think the soil is up to much really but trying to improve it with crimson clover green manure before I plant out veg this year. I know raised beds are meant to be better because they dry out earlier in the season and you don't walk on them but it means in periods of no rain you have to water a lot more. Think I will have to lay a plank across the middle this year to walk on because the bed is huge, the previous woman was a lot taller than me!
Never seen the soil in the condition it is at the moment. Areas that I dug over and manured in the autumn have got a hardened crust, that needs forking over to break it up. Normally with a few winter frosts, I can put the hoe and rake through it and its fine for sowing/ planting.
All the rain this winter has "welded" the clay together again. Going to be lots of work this spring getting the soil up to scratch. On the plus side there were plenty of worms in the topsoil so they will help.
MrsG, I use gravel boards (pressure treated planks) covered in chicken netting to walk on so that I don't slip.
Any areas of the garden that has been cleared in the Autumn are always dug into ridges to allow the rain to drain off. These ridges are always dryer than the flat ground come spring time. Only problem is this year the furrows filled with water for long periods, but they are drying out now. You can add FYM of Compost when ridging in Autumn.