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It is all in the preparation

Posted by Guy Barter on 17 Feb 2009 at 06:31 PM

With winter finally loosening its grasp, sowing and planting time is very close – in fact on my light sandy soil here in the south I can often sow from late February.  However, unless there is a spell of tropical weather soon the soil is unlikely to be warm or dry enough this February.


Even so, it is as well to be ready to go as soon as the soil warms.  Seeds and other planting material are all bought and stored away in the right conditions.  The allotment trading shed was closed from July until early February, so just in case the weather was early, I bought ahead last July to ensure I had enough fertiliser on hand for early sowings.  To help ensure accurate doses of fertiliser measures have been fashioned out of old yoghurt tubs and tin cans.  Their capacity has been written on the sides in felt tip. 


Similarly rolls of fleece, cloche cover and mulching sheet were bought to restock my the store shed. I found my precious yard stick doing duty as fence post – what was I thinking? The rotovator has been serviced with an oil change and fresh petrol – it is running very sweetly.  The elderly estate car needed to shift it has, after a substantial infusion of money, passed its MOT. 


Because it looked as if the weather would never give over raining in time to rotovate for early crops, the areas for early sown crops, broad beans, peas, salads, onions and parsnips has been hand dug.  This leaves a level finish that just needs breaking down with the rake.  In fact some of it has been raked level and covered in clear plastic to warm it.  Sandy soil is very easy to dig. 


The plot has still not been measured and marked out and pathways and alleys are in need of attention.  On the other hand the complete destruction of my netting cages over the brassicas by sheer weight of snow has allowed me to rationalise the cabbage patch.  While resurrecting my defences for those late crops that survived the subsequent influx of pigeons and rabbits I got rid of spent plants clearing the ground for the rotovator. 


Black plastic sheets keeping down winter weeds were furled in the big freeze.  When frozen the muddy water covering them falls off in sheets instead of ending up down your trousers and in your wellies.  Here at least the weather has worked for me.


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on 24 Aug 2009 at 05:10 PM