Friday, 15 February 2013

digging the dirt

After a covering of snow on Wednesday, the last two days have been almost wall-to-wall winter sunshine so lots to be getting on with. First job was to uncover the main compost heap. This is about eight feet by four by four and was covered with thick cardboard weighted down with more waste last autumn. All the loose stuff was scraped off the top to reveal all this gorgeous crumbly goodness. This, to me, is what compost should look like, not the sticky, smelly mess than some people manage to produce. The secret is getting the mix right and you'll notice the stringy bits which are the remains of clippings from our privet hedge. These do a great job of aerating the heap as they keep it open and they can be easily raked out before use and put back in to rot down.

As well as an ingredient in potting mix I spread this compost across the beds and rake it in to give a really nice sowing and planting surface.

Because I practice no-dig the soil is like this for a good way down. Considering it started as heavy clay that's quite an improvement.

With daytime temperatures in the greenhouse up to 17 degrees by mid afternoon it was time to risk some early sowings. One tub of broad beans (Sutton) and one of peas (Meteor) for the first crops of the new season. I also put four spuds in a big fish box, a bit risky but, nothing ventured. The containers are kept covered until shoots are well up in order to conserve a little heat and keep out the mice. More sowings will follow on a regular basis until the greenhouse is full, by which time I'll be ready to fill it with tomatoes!!

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