Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Winter Digging Time

Happy New Year everyone.

After all the excesses of the Christmas season it's time to get out there on the allotment and start preparing for the Spring, and that means digging.

My plot is a bit of a mixture at the moment, there are perennials such as strawberries and gooseberries which obviously I don't want to dig, winter veg which will need digging but only as the produce is used up and sections that are finished from last year and ready to dig.

Don't worry about the weeds. 

Trying to weed the ground is an impossible task on any reasonably sized plot  and not worth the hassle, the most important thing is that as you dig you turn the soil over. The effect of this is you turn the weeds upside down so their roots are showing which will at least impair their growth and probably kill them.

Any old plants left over from last year, in my case sunflowers, sweet corn, parsley, damaged cabbages, pumpkin, trimmings from leeks and gladioli can all be dug in adding plant mater to the soil and retaining their nutrients.

And you'll be surprised how when you come to plant in the Spring that even thick stems such as sweet corn and sunflowers has broken down. Just make sure that as you dig any old plant material is at least covered in soil. 

Don't try and break up the soil

If you are trying to break up the lumps with your spade as you go you are going to double the work unnecessarily, especially if you are digging your plot for the first time.

In fact this can actually make matters worse, if you break the soil up too finely and we then have heavy rain it will compact the soil, a dry period will then turn this into concrete. Far better to just flip the soil with the spade leaving in a large lump and allow the weather to break it down. 

Don't overdo it.

You've got 3 months before the new planting season arrives, get out onto your plot as often as you can and dig a section, you'll be surprised how quickly you will have dug the whole plot.

So get out there and get some fresh air and exercises,  all for far less than the cost of a gym membership.