Missing the Plot

Too Much and Too Little Water

Just over a week ago I mentioned how dry things were and we’d be lucky to get more rain than evaporation losses. As I write this on Sunday afternoon, we’ve had 2 1/2 inches of rain. I’d better stop complaining!

I have popped up to the plot for a couple of quick visits. Mainly just watering since the rain doesn’t get into the greenhouses and coldframes although the water in the ground is more than enough for the sweetcorn under cloches. In fact, a dry top will encourage the roots to go down for water.

We seem to be experiencing long dry spells followed by heavy rain and one thing this is doing is demonstrating the need for organic matter in the ground. By organic matter, I mean compost and manure. Without organic matter soil is just rock dust. Coarse rock dust is just sand and water will just drain out of it. Fine rock dust is clay and water will cause it to stick together and when it dries out turn into concrete like lumps

The organic matter transforms the rock dust into soil. When it rains it soaks up the water and when it stops raining it holds the water for the plants. If there’s a lot of rain, it allows the water to soak through as well so preventing puddles and pockets of water. Plant roots actually need air as well or the plant drowns.

The rains stops and water is held available for the plants and even when this is used up the organic matter holds a structure for sandy soils and stops clay soils from solidifying.

Another benefit from organic matter in the soil is that worms will be happily munching their way through, leaving little drainage holes behind them allowing excess water to drain and keeping an open structure allowing air to the roots.

So, no matter if it is dry or wet, organic matter is the best thing you can do for your soil.

Large Onions

I’ve moved my large onions on from the the six inch square pots into the border of the little greenhouse. Having gotten so far and having, I must admit, been inspired by an NVS DVD, I thought I’d have a go at growing some really super onions. Fingers crossed.

Pottering About

Apart from the plot, I’ve been moving a few brassica seedlings along and some of the tomatoes into larger pots.  The lawn looks like a field but everytime the mower comes out the rain comes down.

Home News

Squeak the cat isn’t settling very well, I’m sorry to say. Poor chap is still confused about things. He comes up and is affectionate for a few moments and then remembers we’re the evil kidnappers and starts hissing and growling. Yesterday he suddenly attacked for no reason as I was walking downstairs. Luckily he’s much smaller than me but I do hope we can turn him round.

We’ve also got a new car. After 10 years our old Cavalier is showing its age. It still runs but gradually worse. The gears rattle, the electrics are dicy and suspension isn’t what it was. The engine’s good though. Now we own a 5 year old diesel Astra. It feels very smart after the rattles and bumps. Even better, the tax is only £35 a year as the emissions are so low. I wonder if this will last us 10 years.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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