Wednesday, 16 March 2011

digging the leaf mould

Yesterday it rained non-stop all day but today I’ve been working outside in my shirtsleeves. Don’t you just love the British weather.

Opened the first leaf mould cage and started sieving some of the crumbly stuff inside. The unrotted leaves have gone into the second cage where they’ll stay until this time next year. The best stuff is right in the middle of the heap and shows no visible leaf structure at all. This is what goes into the potting compost mix while the coarser material makes a good mulch.

It’s about time I was getting some tomatoes and peppers sowed so I did six of each in small pots and brought them into the house to germinate. I’m a couple of weeks later than last year but I find it pays to err on the side of caution with tender plants as they can suffer a real setback if the weather’s too cold when you put them out.  Also sowed a container of beetroot which will be the year’s first picking if they germinate. I tend to make small sowings of beetroot at regular intervals so that I have a constant supply of small, fresh roots. Later on a bigger sowing of maincrop will be made and these used for pickling.

Nasturtium and marigolds have germinated and these will be used for companion planting among other crops in the hope of deterring pests.

Because of the rotation system I use all my potatoes will be container grown this year and if it's the success I hope for I'll do it every year from now on. I know some people will say they do much better in the open ground but if they are fed and watered correctly I reckon similar or even better yields can be achieved in containers. Anyway I made a start on preparing some of the ground where the pots will sit and I'll be documenting my progress through the year.
I drew out a shallow trench and then...
positioned the pots and put four inches of compost in each one followed by one seed spud which was covered with more compost. The soil removed from the trench was pushed back around the pots to anchor them.
I'm using a variety of containers from flower buckets for first earlies to 40 litre polypots for maincrop with all manner of tubs and pots in between. If anyone else out there is doing anything similar I'd be interested in comparing techniques and yields.

1 comment:

  1. It'll be interesting to see how your potatoes do! I grow mine the traditional 'in the ground' way.
    I'll be sowing my marigolds and nasturtiums direct, but not for a while yet! Cheers, Flighty.