Monday, October 17, 2016

Garlic, oomska and rye

The northern 1/3 of the NW bed is still neeps - and the marigolds are thriving, still. The middle section is now garlic: I dug in 3 barrow-fulls of oomska, and then left it for a week or so. Then raked it all as level as possible, and planted 3 rows of carcassonne wight  to the north, and 3 rows of picardy wight to the south of them; (I'm being precise because, whilst I found enough plant markers, I couldn't write on them, being unable to find a pen or pencil: the conditions in the old shed mean I struggle to lay my hand to anything I need).  That was last week, so say 10th October. They were planted 10ins apart, in rows about 1ft apart. (One is advised to plant them 6ins apart, but that won't give quite enough room to get a hoe between them).

The final, southerly, 1/3 of the NW bed, and the whole of the Midwest bed, I dug over a week or so ago. I then left it for a week, as 'tillage prompts germination', apparently, and it seems like a good idea to give the weeds a week to germinate, before dashing their hopes with hoeing or more digging over. I then put on about 10 barrowfulls of oomska, raked it level (2-3ins thick all over), left it another couple of days, and then dug it all in. Finally, I sowed about 600g of hungarian rye, (over about 50sq metres), raking it all in.

Couple of things I noticed: maybe it was the light, (somewhere between pearly and murky, this weather), but the earth on the MW bed is still the green-grey-blueish half clay which I think of as the plot's 'original' soil. The other thing: I dug this 50sq metres over in 2 hours or so. Admittedly, it wasn't heavy digging as I'd already turned it over a week ago, but even so, I recall being out of breath digging over an area the size of a dining table when I got started in June last year.

As for the oomska, it's about done now, (which is fine, more on its way in the next few weeks). I got 20-something barrows full onto the plot, but it was 40+ when it arrived, so it's lost half its bulk rotting down over the summer. And the brandlings, goodness me, 100s in every shovelful. As they inhabit decomposing organic matter, I suppose they'll die out as the manure breaks down into the clay. So much for Eisenia fetida. Let's hope our native population of Octolasion cyaneum thrives now that there's more organic matter being added, and less waterlogging. (I'm guessing that they're O. cyaneum, btw, the British earthworm situation is more complicated than I'd thought.)