Allotment, Grow Your Own, Recycling

GYO – Autumn Preparation!

At this time of year as ground is being cleared in preparation for the following years growing season, it is an ideal time to dig manure into the newly cleared ground. This spring was the first time I managed to source any horse manure, with the help of my man mountain I had ten 60 litre sacks for five pounds. At that time it was Cucurbit planting time and  as I double dug my trenches in the first bed I felt the way forward was to plant the Cucurbit’s on the peaks and fill the trenches with manure. Eventually mulching the plants with straw to suppress weeds and retain moisture, vital for this years drought as I visited to water no more than twice a week.

If you look at the picture above this is the level the manure was finally set and raking the soil back over to around three inches over the manure. This was mainly to ensure that the children would not be directly in contact with the freshly manured trenches. As I planted three pumpkins per peak, I covered the top layer clearly positioning the seedlings high so that they would not rot off. My thoughts were eventually as the manure settled in it would be accessible by the plants, however in hindsight I should have given the material time to decompose as my crops took a while to produce fruit.

This year  due to family changes I still need to collect some more, however if I wait until spring that will be fine as long as the area receives manure at some point earlier on in the season. The next bed is the one directly behind the greenhouse, which used to be the previous tenants composting point. This year the potatoes failed in this bed so this is a priority and subsequently why it will house the sweetcorn and pumpkins next year, my courgettes I will allocate a raised bed as they seem to suffocate with the straw.

This bed will require, weeding and edging for next year, but with the impending arrival of our baby, it may be the recipient of a new weed suppressing fabric to ensure by next spring all I have to do is trench dig and remove the brambles and nettles. It was left for the first year as the ground was hard and compacted, after spending a year under carpet we dug potato trenches in early summer.

The potatoes never emerged which I think was a combination of poor soil and intense heat, however knowing my luck they will appear now that the weather has changed and the rainfall has significantly increased. My allotment plan has two other large ground beds which are to be manured once every three years, and trench dug to ensure they can still be planted as the manure settles in and hopefully brings on my crops.

Additionally I will be using my nettle feed to water the crops once they are established plants, this should ensure I to not have to spend any other money on fertilisers and the ground should be in a much better condition as I continue to increase my planting and hopefully the harvests I yield!

So, it is good to remember that without additional manure whether animal made or green in the form of field beans or mustard, to name but a few which  can be chopped up and dug directly into the soil. It is worth taking note of your rotation to ensure you are adding the nutrients required for the next years crop! (ref – Crop Rotation!)

Happy Preparations!



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