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Spud Grubber's Blog

Guy Barter

  • Date Joined: 15 Jan 2007

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Slug bothering

Posted by Guy Barter on 23 Mar 2009 at 05:40 PM

Slugs are vulnerable when the soil is dry and the weather sunny.  To knock back their numbers, previously rotovated or dug land was stirred with rake, cultivator or hoe to expose the slugs to drying air and sun.  With luck a useful number will succumb to drying.  It is the smallest ones that will suffer most and these are those that do most damage and are least susceptible to slug  controls. Soil moisture losses will, I trust, be replenished by the rain forecast later this week.

Dry March weather is also ideal to clear away spent winter crops ready for the second batch of rotovating next month.

All usable carrots were lifted a couple of weeks ago.  Remaining damaged, diseased or scrubby ones were dug up and burnt.  Ditto chicories and beetroot.  Brussels sprouts are all over now and these were decapitated and the leaves spread for incorporation by rotovator, while the stalks are added to the burning pile.  Cabbages, ‘Wintessa’ and ‘Deadon’, are holding up well and are still delicious.  There are still plenty of parsnips and leeks of course.

Access paths with compacted soil were loosened with a fork as the rotovator tends to bounce over these if they are left in a solid state.  The soil is much ‘tighter’ than usual, which I put down to the wet summer when the soil became compacted under the influence of the rain.

Some areas which were unavoidably trampled when wet are in such bad shape structurally speaking that they were hand dug.  This provide an opportunity to rake up and bury all crop debris, slugs, weeds and other organic gunk to save carrying it to the composting pits.

The carrot patch was covered with clear polythene to warm the soil.  The first carrots, ‘Amsterdam forcing 3’, are just emerging under fleece and it will soon be time for the next batch to go in.

Already asparagus is beginning to grow.  Young plants sown two years ago in a seedbed were lifted.  Weak ones without sturdy buds were discarded and the remaining strong crowns planted out to make a new bed, the old one having become deeply bindweed infested after over ten years of productive life.

Comments

miranda said:

We are on clay and also have compacted soil - it's been tough digging it over these last few weeks. Are you growing on clay as well, Guy?

on 26 Mar 2009 at 09:54 AM

Guy Barter said:

No, more a silty sand that is even more vulnerable to damage then clay.  But I did dig over my mother's garden at the weekend.  That is evil clay, but after a while I remembered the trick, which is to use a fork.  My preferred fork has  an extra long steel handle to give great leverage.  Forks are easier to insert than spades and the clay sticks to them less.  Using this to take small 'bites' of the clay the plot was soon turned over.

on 26 Mar 2009 at 09:38 PM