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Digging the Solstice!

The winter solstice finds me digging over plot 5 to prevent panning

Happy Solstice!

Today was the shortest day and the cycle of life turns again. From now to June the days will get longer and, although we know the coldest is yet to come, spring is not far away.

The sun shone all day, and I sat on my bench watching it fall below the treeline – a great finish to the day.

Managed to rough dig another 100 square feet. The soil is really too wet for it but it needs doing. I find that 2 hours of hard labour at a time is enough so I reckon I have 7 sessions ahead to get everything dug over that needs it.

I will also be liming heavily as the acid clay needs it.

It was interesting digging over the soil where I had incorporated a layer of leaves last year. From being a good foot deep they had compressed into a seam varying from 1″ to 3″ deep. They haven’t rotted down as well as the leaves in the cage, proving that aerobic decomposition is more effective.

In the spring, I’ll use the rotovator to mix it all in.

More Leaves for the Leafmould

Although it looks as if the leaf pile dropped by the council has gone, on closer examination there is still a fair amount left. Some are run through with white roots (bindweed?) so I’m picking through. Added about 4 barrow loads to the cage on plot 5 and piled a couple with the leaves on the soil by the comfrey bed.

The intention is to add those when the cage starts to rot down.

The onions and garlic on plot 29 seem to be doing very well. The mild weather must have given them a start but I’m a little worried it has been too mild and the cold snap that is bound to come will hit hard.

The field beans seem OK. I hope they’re doing their job and holding onto nutrients until the spring when I’ll dig them in.

Took a look around at my neighbours plot. He keeps it very tidy – weeds are hoed off almost before they sprout. He doesn’t seem to grow much but I reckon it gives him pleasure – so that’s fine.

He doesn’t engage in this digging fetish and the result is that his plot is covered in pools of water. These were frozen and I snapped a piccy for the gallery.

Water Pools on Soil

Water Pools on Soil – A no dig, no drainage plot

No digging is a great idea – well less work – but I’m certain it would be a disaster on our soil. I reckon a hard pan develops pretty quickly especially when little organic matter is incorporated.

A study carried out by the HDRA in the 60’s showed that there was a collapse in soil fertility after a few years.

In the night the temperature shot up and the ice melted, by midnight the rain had arrived. As I write this (22nd) they are predicting rain and possibly snow on Christmas day.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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