Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Raised Beds Rethink

This year, sans potting shed and/or a poly-tunnel, it has, of course, been all direct sowing. Today, the dogs discovered that they could run around the plot at will, and of course it was great fun to chase each other over the almost bare earth of the seed beds. Hmm.

Two thoughts occurred. First, Sparky is, surely, half whippet. She can run almost twice as fast as her somewhat less crossbred staffordshire mother. Second, plants which germinated a few weeks ago, like the peas, don't take much hurt from being run over by dogs. Seeds which have not yet, or have only just, germinated, I'm not so sure.

After moving some plants around the plot (see here, and here), I weeded the currants and berries at the NE boundary, pulling up three big old currant bush stumps which had given up the ghost, and replacing them with bramble volunteers which had been growing by the pond/cherry tree area. I also replanted half a dozen comfrey volunteers along the main path edge. 

And then I had a digging frenzy. I decided just to dig over all of the yet-unsown part of the NW bed, and I did. I recalled that last summer when I started working this plot, I was knackered after digging over an area the size of a beach towel. Today I happily dug over 16sq yards, and could have carried on.

Digging is great for the thought processes. I thought how much fun the dogs were having, and how it had been at the back of my mind since I got the plot last year that we'd be getting a dog, so it has to be made pooch-friendly, and in such a way to allow those plants which must be sown-direct, roots and turnips, to thrive.

And so it has come to this. I'm going to have to have raised beds, despite the dim views I've expressed in the past. 3 beds would do it: 1 for Brassiceae (neeps, that is), 1 for Apiaceae (carrots and parsnips), and the third for a green manure, adding yet another cog to the crop rotation system. Riddled soil and compost. I could put all of them, or maybe just 2 of them over the stony, rubbishy soil of the SE bed. The herbs and perennials I was going to plant there can go elsewhere - I will have spare room in the main beds.

And the dogs can run where they want, doing only limited harm to, say, cauliflowers raised in the potting shed and planted out only once they're big and ugly enough to take care of themselves.  This year, no more direct sowing, apart from the last couple rows of main crop spuds, (King Neds from Tesco). The rest of the Midwest and NW beds will get phacelia.