Thursday, November 1, 2012

Victoria's Green Matter - 1st Nov 2012

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury: Do you still dig your vegetable garden? Tradition seems to dictate that we must dig over our vegetable plot before we can sow seeds or plant seedlings next year. Most vegetables will be more successful if you adopt a no-dig policy.

There are many advantages with this method, not least the fact that there is less back breaking work which saves time and other great benefits such as fewer weeds in spring and less slug damage to seedlings in undug beds.

The long term health of the soil can be improved by adopting the no-dig method of growing. Worms and fungi which are beneficial are encouraged to do their work uninterrupted by our interference. This means that the soil is better aerated so that plants are able to access soil nutrients. Charles Darwin spent many hours watching earthworms which he regarded as nature's gardeners. Digging the soil turns their world upside down and limits their work.

So how do we achieve our no-dig vegetables? The most important thing that you can do now as your garden is coming to the end of the growing season is to clear your beds of the end of the harvests and any weeds you have and then spread two inches of compost as a mulch over the soil. Your worms will enjoy their job of dragging down the new compost and creating a fine tilth for you to sow and plant next spring. It really is as easy as that - try it and see.

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