Thursday 11 January 2018

Preparing the ground for sowing

preparing ground sowing
With such low temperatures and wet weather in recent weeks it may seem strange to talk about preparing the ground for sowing. If the work is put in now then you should reap the rewards later in the year. Our soil is predominately used to grow fruit and vegetables whether it is for sowing directly or transferring seedlings. If you are after beautiful blooms or prize winning veggies then take some tips on how to get your patch in top condition.

Crop rotation – If you have been growing vegetables then one of the keys to good cultivation is to make sure you don't keep growing the same crops in the same space each year. Before you lift a single spade, fork or trowel sit down and plan where you are going to put everything this year. It helps if you keep a record so you can look back each year.

Get digging – It may be hard work to do it all in one go but start off by trying to break down the soil with a spade or fork. Next remove as many weeds as you can. Some will have very shallow roots but perennial weeds such as dandelions will keep coming back month after month if you don't dig them all up. By turning over the soil you will also help to bring any bugs to the surface. Don't worry about removing these if they are on top of the soil as the birds will welcome this unexpected feast.
Add nutrients – After last year's growing season has stripped away the goodness in the soil it's time to add something back. I've already seen deliveries of horse manure from the local stables at our allotment. If you have your own then add leaf mould or empty the contents of a well rotted compost bin. Work it into the soil so it has a good coverage.

Warm the soil – To get an early start on your plot don't rely on the winter sun to get the soil warm. An efficient way is to use plastic covering. If you're not keen on plastic then try fleece. Don't put old carpet or rugs on the soil as it is very heavy and can compact the soil even more. Also weeds can grow into the carpet which makes the carpet very difficult to remove. Leave the covering for around six weeks before you starting planting early crops.

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