Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Digging Gets Underway

At long last, spade has made contact with soil, and the new season officially gets started. This is this year's brassica patch before:

and after, having dug in the clover green manure and grass. I hope it will be sufficiently decomposed in time to plant the first cabbages.

The onion patch before:

and after, clover dug in as per the cabbage patch. The bit at the end is where my overwintering onions currently are, and garlic, which hasn't come up yet.

The onions are looking a bit the worse for wear; I think they have been pulled out by birds, pushed out by frost, not to mention trampled on by vandals. And of course I haven't been going regularly to push them back in, so it will be a miracle if any of them makes full size.

The purple sprouting brocolli is also looking sorry for itself, and I have no idea why they have done so badly.

They grew very tall and then fell over. I suppose I should have staked them or earthed them up or whatever, but, well, there's no excuse really. But the main problem is that they look very sickly, and some are definitely dead. They had a really bad attack of whitefly and woolly aphids in late summer, so that might have contributed to the problem. Better luck with this year's crop I hope. My soil isn't ideal for brassicas, being quite light and sandy, there is a bit of clubroot in it as well.

Oh, and there's no sign of the rhubarb sprouting. It's just a brown lump at the moment. It feels firm so I think it's still alive, just late. Everybody else's is coming up. There is no sign at all of the two smaller crowns, so I don't know if they have rotted away completely.

The potato patch is already ready, apart from a small area where the last remaining few leeks are, but they should be gone by the time I come to plant the maincrops. I dug the potato patch last autumn, digging in all the weeds and then covering it with tarpaulin which I took off today to put on the brassica area. It looks good and the weeds have decomposed nicely leaving a layer of organic matter. Now we just wait until it's warm enough.


Amy said...

Wow you have been busy and the plot looks great. I am starting to panic that all the rain in November and the snow in January have completely crushed any hope I had of digging over the plot before the planting begins. I guess it will be another frantic nettle fighting year.

Rachael said...

Don't give up hope! Planting will inevitably be delayed after such a cold winter, so there is still plenty of time to dig.
Whereabouts in Cambridgeshire are you Amy? I used to live near St Ives when I was a child and lived in Cambridge for a while too.

Soilman said...

Wow, you did some serious work there!