Planning this year's cropping.
I haven't been near the plot since Wednesday as I have had a heavy load of commitments keeping me away. I was doing a lot of physical work on a volunteer project this morning and early afternoon and had no more energy when I got home but my head was buzzing....so I have spent a while planning next years cropping . I have roughed out a plan, which I will draw out neatly and laminate the next time I am stuck indoors when it rains. Then I will record it on here too.
Tomorrow our manure will be delivered at the plot....so we'll be barrowing for an hour or so. I know it is heavy work but every barrowload has such potential for making the plot fertile that I don't mind at all. The tired feeling after that kind of work is actually a pleasure.
Planning the garden beds this year has involved a lot of referencing in my gardening books. I particularly dipped into my two Bob Flowerdew companion planting books, and the very very good book by Charles Dowding "Organic Gardening The Natural No-Dig Way" (I'd do a link to these books on Amazon but for some very strange reason I haven't been able to get onto the Amazon site for over a month now. I keep getting the "The webpage cannot be found message" when I try to visit. It doesn't matter how I try to access the page....google, a memo from Amazon, a book reference/link on someone else's blog....none of them work.)
I like the theory of this 'no dig' book. I am trying to not walk on the beds I created at the plot, and the only digging I want to do, other than digging up spuds and pernicious weeds, is a little weeding with my long handled weeding fork. This has the benefit of not bringing up weed seeds from underground, which should lead to there being fewer and fewer weeds every year, and also benefits the microscopic organisms in the soil which have preferred layers in which they live and don't benefit from being all mixed up by digging. Charles Dowding grows salads for market and has not dug his deep beds for 6 years (when the book was written) It started out as grassland, and he just puts 5cm of manure or compost on the beds every year to smother and prevent weed growth, and lets the worms do the digging. As gardening is something I want to be doing right into my old age giving up digging seems to be the sensible way to go. So I'm giving it a go....!
Companion planting too is something I feel should be a good idea to try. I have used marigolds and basil with the tomatoes in the greenhouse for years and have never had whitefly. This year I plan to follow Bob's advice and sow Poached Egg plant under the gooseberry bush, Tansy and Marigolds under the raspberries, nasturtiums with the pumpkins and squashes, summer savoury with the onions and shallots, and chamomile, dill, peppermint, and sage with the cabbages. That should be enough to be going on with.