Saturday, 17 December 2016

December 2016 (2)

I have been out in the garden harvesting early potatoes today from one of my Ecobeds.  These Nicola spuds were taken from the second 1500mm long row to be lifted.  The first row lasted us about 6 weeks in the kitchen and sharing a few with family and friends.  If all seven rows are equally productive we will have harvested about 40 kilograms by the time the foliage dies back in February.  I'm quite happy with that.
Here's the space in which row 2 was grown.  I'm just about to remove the old mulch, level the soil and add 60 mm of sieved compost covered with 40mm of fresh organic sugar cane mulch.

A new crop was planted in this space without delay.  There are now 9 sweetcorn plants and a single bush cucumber planted in the bed in their jiffy pots.  After watering in with dilute seaweed extract, they were protected from digging birds with a wire mesh tunnel.

This process of minimising delay between harvesting a crop and planting the next one (less than an hour today) works well with brassicas and legumes, but potato harvesting disturbs the soil and leaves no previous crop's roots (with their communities of symbiotic microbes) in place.  Reestablishment of mutualistic relationships between the new crops roots and beneficial soil microbes may take longer as a consequence.  However, today's freshly planted seedlings were carrying established colonies of beneficial soil microbes in their jiffy pot's soil, so hopefully, they will grow relatively unchecked in their new location.