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Happy Winter Solstice. Improving the Soil, Leafmould

Happy Solstice!

Today is the winter solstice, shortest day of the year and, although the really cold weather is yet to come, the days are getting longer again. Since I’m always being driven home from my efforts at growing vegetables by lack of light, this is a good thing.


Finished digging on plot 29


That’s it for plot 29, no more digging to do. The deep beds could do with some weeding, the strawberries with being sorted, lime scattered as required and the greenhouse putting up. Not much, really. If I say it enough I might believe it as well.


I reckon six or seven digging sessions will finish plot 5 as well.


Soil Improvement


One thing I realised today was how improved the potato bed soil on plot 29 is. When I took it on it hadn’t been dug for years and had a selection of sheds, greenhouses and even decking on it. As I deep dug it, I incorporated organic matter to help it revive. This included, horse manure, turkey litter, compost, old exhausted growbags and naything else I could find.


Now it is crumbly and quite light in comparison to plot 5. I think some of that is due to the sand and gravel that was on the surface being dug in. The inner strip by the path had not been dug over but now I have a definate ege with the board retaining the chippings so can dig it without intruding into the path. What a difference! I had to do it in two goes as the spade was bending in the solid clay so I couldn’t get a spit deep.


Grey, lifeless soil with no worms to be seen, which I hope will be replaced with a fertile medium by next year.


Thinking ahead and of soil improvement, 5 barrow loads of leaves topped up the bin on plot 5 and 2 barrow loads went into the leafmould cage on plot 29.


Wildlife


I was going to say I was on my own on the site, apart from one chap who stayed a few minutes as he collected something from his shed, but that is not true.


As I dug the soil a couple of youngish blackbirds were digging into the wood chippings on the path. A pair of robins were watching as well. I took a break and one perched on the spade handle as the other swooped on something in the soil. I even spotted a jenny wren on the compost heap.


No sign of rats or rabbits but I think I spotted a mouse. I know they are pests but surely there is room for everyone? The little black cat I sometimes see was about as well. Hope the mouse didn’t meet her.


The computer saga continues. Now it doesn’t just have the screen going funny, it switches off without warning. Arghhhh!!!!

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