Copyright Jean Price - Walton Road Allotments © 2017
Jean Price - Plot 4
Well, it’s getting to the end of January and it is very cold with frosty mornings and hard soil. So, its a good time to be thinking about the condition that our soil is in. The secret of a successful harvest is getting the soil in the best condition you can.
One of the best ways of conditioning the soil is introducing organic matter in the form of animal manure, which adds nitrogen, garden compost, which adds slow release nutrients and leaf mould which improves drainage. I know a lot of you have thought about improving your soil already because of the working parties that we have organized this month to help shovel the deliveries of manure that we have had (with more to come).
Organic matter will never fail to improve the structure of the soil and help with water drainage. We have a good supply of leaf mould which is free for our society members and I know that many of you compost waste products too. A sprinkling of chicken pellets help to give a big boost to the soil microbes. It smells a bit rich but it’s worth it.
It’s easy to enrich your soil; just pile the organic matter on the soil and then fork it in at a depth of about 6 – 12 inches. If you already have plants such as rhubarb or fruit trees etc., just fork the matter around the plants. No need to dig it in. One of the first things you will notice is that your worm population increases. Worms are wonderful things for growers because they naturally aerate the soil.
You should see a marked improvement in your harvest. So as soon as the ground thaws and you feel like a dig, make sure you dig in some goodness too!