Sunday, March 28, 2010

The earth unearthed (at last!)

Finally managed to turn over a sod in the veg plot and get a first look at what lies beneath. The verdict: it could be better, but it could be worse. The soil itself appears to be a slightly clayey loam (which is okay, although it does still need its pH tested) and digging it is not too much of a back-breaker (our previous veg plot was not so much dug as quarried). The downside is that the nice black organic layer of soil is barely six inches deep, below which is the lovely, reddish subsoil in the photos. The original plan was to double-dig the whole thing, incorporating extra organic matter during this. We are sticking to this plan, digging a trench about nine inches deep, forking over the nine inches below that, before filling the trench back up. However, we clearly now need a lot more organic matter than originally anticipated. Sadly, this wasn’t to hand this weekend, so will now be added as layers of mulch to the surface and forked in as we go. This first bed is for peas and beans, which will probably need planted out in about three to four weeks hopefully giving us time to get the organic matter in there. The dearth of deeper nutrients also means that additional fertilisers may be required during the growing season. The second bed that we’re putting in this year will be for brassicas, and hopefully won’t be required until May, giving us a bit more time to prepare the soil.

The beds themselves measure twelve feet by four feet (internally) and the wooden frame (boards measuring nine inches by inch-and-a-half) will remain in place until they rots away. The whole veg plot is also on a bit of a slope (a drop of about six inches across the bed we’re busy working on), so the beds will likely be slightly “terraced” on the slope. Again, not too worried about this, although we hope that the top of the veg plot (the bit with the two corner frame sections in the photo) will be flat enough for a poly-tunnel.

Apart from laying out some of the beds in the veg garden, and starting to dig the first bed, we managed to sow some Carrots (Amsterdam Forcing in a big pot) for salads, some leaf beet (perpetual spinach) and the first Brussels sprout (Falstaff). All this seed was quite old, and needed using up, so it is going to be a bit of a lottery to see if anything appears. We also began clearing off the old weeds and growth from the raised beds out front. A few interesting-looking plants starting to emerge from amongst the shrubs, so will exciting to see what appears as the summer progresses – another lottery!


  1. Saw your link on Irish Good write up, it may be just me but the pics are not showing....

  2. Hi Jamie - thanks for that. Not sure what's wrong with the pics, but there appear to be a few problems at this end too. Hopefully they've sorted themselves out now. Perhaps the bad weather?

  3. ya all sorted now....could be :)

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