Thursday, 26 February 2015

A Dry Crust Signals GO!

It has been such a delight to be able to harvest fresh asparagus from the garden for the last two years, so I have gone and bought another thirty crowns. As ever, though, there's nowhere for them to go yet. But there is a plan, which is to extend the current bed of three rows across the path and to steal a little of the sorrel patch
So about a fortnight ago I decided it was time to start preparing the ground. The soil was still fairly heavy but we'd had a few dry days and an initial turn with my trusty fork would at least be a good start. Problem was, rain was forecast from about midday. After a couple of hours of pretty heavy work I was within sight of the end when the rain started and I had to stop, not because I don't like getting wet, but because the soil quickly becomes unworkable. Anyway, nine hours later the rain stopped. The ground was completely sodden and I wouldn't be able to go near it for quite some time, even if the weather stayed dry.

Fast forward to yesterday. March is nearly upon us. The days are lengthening and between the showers we've had some moderately warm weather. I've even heard a skylark singing on a couple of days. As I was moving some raspberry canes and planting up some currant bushes (last year's cuttings) I noticed that the tansy was sprouting green again, the rhubarb leaves were almost open and the nectarine was threatening to come into blossom. But more boringly I noticed that there was a dry crust just starting to appear on the soil surface. Prepare yourself for some very exciting pictures!

The half dug new asparagus bed

This is a sure sign that the soil is becoming workable. In the height of summer, I'd have about three days to get the rotavator on it before it turns to concrete! But at this time of year the concern is another downpour. And, being a Thursday, that soaking was duly forecast to arrive at 10am. Not to be outwitted, I was up and out early(ish) and it didn't take long to achieve some pretty impressive results. Four beds completely ready for planting and another three have been worked for the first time this year. One more go and they'll reach a fine tilth.
Ready to go!

All I need to do is wait for the rain to stop (that's why I'm finally composing another blog post) and I can get back outside. There's cloches to be placed, netting and wigwams to be erected and compost bins to be moved.
Meanwhile, inside, the sowing has started in earnest. It's going to be a good year. I can tell.

1 comment:

  1. I'm waiting delivery of asparagus crowns but the beds are not yet ready! As we have not long moved to where we now live I have been doing a lot of digging in fresh ground. My problem at the moment is shortage of manure and compost. I go each day to view where I planted new rhubarb crowns to see if they are poking through - no sign yet.


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