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Preparing Beds Using Compost Planting Jerusalem Artichokes

You may have read in my earlier diary entry about the loads of compost we had delivered to the site and the saga of the stuck lorry.  I’ve already planted my first and second early potatoes in it and today I was preparing some ground on plot 29.

Preparing a Deep Bed with the Mantis Tiller

First I added just a barrow load to the deep bed where I had grown parsnips and salsify last season. I’d also added a few spadefulls of well rotted horse manure. The next job was to mix it all up and the Mantis Tiller did the job perfectly, despite the soil being quite hard and dry. Fifteen minutes and the bed was well mixed and friable soil suitable for planting.

I took a quick Ph test to check the soil acidity and it’s quite high. About 7 (neutral) I think. Vegetables generally prefer a higher Ph to flowers. The higher the Ph the lower the acidity.

Planting Jerusalem Artichokes

One of the members of our local National Vegetable Society Association brought along some Jerusalem Artichokes yesterday so they were planted next to the rear of the small greenhouse. They grow pretty tall and because there are always volunteers they’re effectively a permanent bed. My theory is that any shade will come at a time of year when this will be useful for the greenhouse.

Compost Added to Soil

Up at the top end of the main bed on plot 29 I prepared a strip about a yard wide for planting. Added about a barrow load of the compost per square yard and then used the Mantis to mix it all in to the top eight inches or so of the soil. It’s amazing how much difference it makes even in a relatively small amount. I think it will not only improve the tilth of the soil and its water retention ability but also improve fertility.

Potatoes in the Deep Bed

The potatoes planted in the compost in the deep bed with a coldframe on top are popping through already, which is great. When the foliage is about six or eight inches high I will fill the bed with compost. Earthing up to improve yield and prevent greening of the potatoes. Green potatoes are not edible as they contain an alkaloid which is slightly poisonous and can cause a bad stomach ache if eaten.

In the Greenhouses

The onion sets in modules in the greenhouse are doing quite well, about 30% failure though. Better than the sets planted directly into beds. The broad beans are all starting to show as well. I was worried as they didn’t seem to be doing anything but now they are. Gave them and the beans in the big coldframe, a light watering. The new automatic openers are working well, all fully open in the sunshine. Gianni from plot 28 kindly gave me some film to repair a broken pane in the small greenhouse. It’s like the stuff we used ot cover books with at school back in the dark ages. Did the job though.

Next job was the path in the big greenhouse. I just emptied a couple of bags of sand over the weed supressant fabric then laid a few slabs. The gaps were filled with pea gravel.

Photo Below of the Compost Delivery

Compost Delivery

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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