Maybe (probably) it’s just me, but there is something about a good layer of weed free raked soil that just makes my heart tingle and go all fluffy.
Even my friend, an incredible friend actually, saw me today with the biggest grin on my face and a certain skip in my manure covered wellie steps and said ‘Are you ok?!’ It just makes me super happy, especially when you then add a thick layer of well-rotted manure on top too.
If I was a pig, or maybe just me and appropriately dressed, I would roll around in it with happiness. I wouldn’t actually do that don’t worry, it would ruin the soil structure, let alone anything else.
What makes me even happier, is knowing that this incredible top soil was a mound of utter weeds and grass with a just glimpse of soil in between just two years ago.
As you will know, if you have followed my blog from Day 1 of me taking on No.27, the plot was more weeds, both perennial and annual, than soil (Picture below).
At this stage and still to a small degree today, I didn’t know what weeds I could ignore and which I had to definitely remove. So my own solution/idea at the time, now absolute genius in my own mind and one I recommend was, to focus on just one side of the plot, covering the other half until year two. Starting then by digging up every millimetre of every weed amongst the clay soil, a bit like lifting turf initially (wow, my back hurt back then) and mound them all up grass sides together into a big hill that was nearly shoulder height. I then got a giant sheet of 100gsm heavy-duty weed membrane (I bought this one), and covered the mound over, using pegs to pin it in place, as pictured below last Spring.
I left it untouched until today, other than making a few holes to grow cucumbers and squashes out of it for two reasons. I was utilising the current nutrients in what soil there was and it also covered up the not so pretty sight of the mound during the summer months.
Not only did this remove every perennial weed and make digging over the beds much easier for year two, it also as I found out today, gave me the most beautiful top soil.
I’m sure many professional gardeners will be reading this going crazy, mumbling or shouting there is much easier ways or even no-dig, but I have found this way, my right way, brilliant. It was hard work originally but my word, when I uncovered the membrane and saw that soil, it was worth it. It filled me with pure delight!
I must admit though, that I am now fascinated by the ‘no-dig’ concept, so I have a couple of books at the ready, but also lots of questions. I will be sharing more on my thoughts and these exact, may I add, award-winning books at a later date.
It was now finally time to put this incredible soil to better use and add it to the beds ready for Spring. Oh, I can’t wait to get sowing and planting! Can’t forget watering galore too, that’s not sarcastic, honest.
So that is exactly what we did; my good friend Mr B as he will be named, took the honours of moving the soil from the mound to the beds. Whilst I then went over it with a thick layer of well-rotted manure I got delivered late last year from the local farm. Read more about the manure delivery here.
It’s amazing how much work you can get done with an extra pair of gardening loving hands, a pre-work out big breakfast and a determination to just crack on.
So that was my day at the allotment today, on the first dry Sunday in ages with no plans. It was marvellous and felt fabulous just ‘being’ there! Knackered now though and definitely Miss Sleepy Head, whilst I am sat here writing to you.
I hope you got up to your allotment or out in your garden this weekend? If not, maybe to your local garden centre? They are starting to become dangerous places again now at this time of year; all the seeds, dahlia tubers, stunning hellebores and seed potatoes. That’s before you mention the cream teas and cakes, which most have these days too. It really is hard to resist going crazy. So I was pretty chuffed today after my lunch, when I only walked out with a bag of seed compost.
Let sowing commence!!