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Spud Grubber's Blog

Guy Barter

  • Date Joined: 15 Jan 2007

Recent Comments

  • First sowings for 2008

    Guy Barter on 26 Feb 2008 at 09:31 PM

    Dry soil halves the work and a recent run of dry weather has left the ground easily workable.  The remnants of last year’s sweet corn were carefully hand dug incorporating a light sprinkling of compost.  This is for a planting of raspberries, but as the raspberries will take a year to reach a sensible size, there is scope for a crop of March planted onion sets between them and the nearby row of loganberries. Leaves, weeds and other debris from beneath the soft fruit were raked out and incorporated while digging to add organic matter and save the trouble of conveying them to the compost pit.

    The strawberry bed dug over the winter and left as a ridge was raked level.  Raspberries were to have gone in here too, but the level of bindweed infestation is too high for a successful long term crop.  To clean the soil up a crop of broad beans will be taken. The ridge was raked level removing yet more bindweed and 15g per square metre of sulphate of potash sprinkled evenly over the bed, along with a modest amount, 100g every square metre, of dried poultry manure pellets.  A sheet of black landscape fabric, with holes every 25cm, was secured over the bed and ‘Witkiem Manita’ broad beans seeds sown through the sheet, two beans to every hole.   With luck the bindweed will die a lingering death beneath the sheet or if not, can be treated with glyphosate weedkiller in late summer, ready for some  fruit planting in the autumn.  Weed control is the most tiresome part of allotment growing and  the landscape fabric will save hours of weeding


  • As the days grow longer the cold grows stronger

    Guy Barter on 20 Feb 2008 at 07:09 PM

    As the days grow longer the cold grows stronger as we allotment growers say and so it has been recently with vicious frosts overnight that make the broad bean and onion plants look a little sick.  However they soon bounce back as the sun comes up.

    To help them along nitrogen-rich compound fertiliser (15:15:15 - remember that the formulae in Britain, but not most other countries, apply to elemental nitrogen, but to oxygen compounds of phosphorus and potassium and oxygen has no nutrient value so the useful content is really something like 15:6:12) was applied at 70g every square metre to the onions to suppress flowering and 30g to the beans to pick up growth until the soil is warm enough for them to make their own nitrogen


  • Frozen at last

    Guy Barter on 03 Feb 2008 at 11:42 PM

    A good freeze at last. With the ground solid, the black polythene sheets keeping rain off the manure heap, were pulled off the manure heap and used to cover the 120 most weed infested square metres of the plot. The weeds should now begin to rot beneath the polythene and rain will be excluded so that rotovating can soon begin. Conditions could not have been better; all the water and manure-derived slime on the sheets had frozen solid and either fell off or added enough weight to stop the sheets flapping in the slight breeze. Logs and blocks were used to anchor the sheets in case of any more gales.

    Manure was then barrowed out to the plot intended for the new asparagus bed. There is light at the end of the 'manure tunnel' – twenty more barrow loads should see the heap spread and rotovating can begin