Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Getting ready

Yesterday the first batch of autumn digging started. There has been very little rainfall this year, but lately there has been more rainy days, so I expected that the ground would quickly become a muddy mess, as usual at this time of year. I was wrong. The rain we have had has not soaked the ground at all, so digging it over was easy and the resulting tilth was lovely, crumbly, damp soil not great clods of mud and not dry, unbreakable lumps either. In fact it seems almost perfect.

We now have enough ground turned for our onions, spring onions and garlic to go in, but first it wants a bit of blood-fish-and-bone raked in to give the onion sets and garlic cloves a good start. The spring onion seeds need really fine soil so an extra rake over there is needed too.

The next spot to dig will be a space to plant broad beans to stand over the winter as an experiment. If that doesn't work we will just plant broad beans in the spring as we have done before, so there's no risk of not having broad beans which would be a big loss.

All of this is using up space when we haven't yet planned out the layout for next year. I will make a plan up, but as usual it will only be a starting point rather than a strict plan.

The extra rain has helped our leeks a lot. They are still not as big as last year, but they are doing well now. They were covered in rust earlier on, but now that seems to have gone. Reading about rust on leeks has left me feeling that people may have mixed their ideas about it. It's called rust because it is small, rust-coloured spots on the leaves. People equate rust on iron with water, so I think people have followed that thinking through to leeks, but I think that is wrong. The rust was there this year, and last year, during the dry spells. When there was plenty of rain it disappeared, so I think leek rust is a disease of dry weather and not wet as my books say. This time last year we were already taking big leeks, we will start taking some next week I think.

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