Saturday, 8 October 2016

Trench Composting Annual Weeds For A Green Manure


Part of the vegetable plot was badly neglected over the last four or five months.  Due mainly to a family crisis (brother had a stroke), the wet summer and me being depressed because of the crisis.   Or in the words of Yul Bryner in the King and I: 
"Excetera, excetera."...  


Any way.  It's dryish today and I have decided to tackle the overgrown part of the veg plot.  This involved getting my spade and digging a foot deep trench and filling my wheelbarrow with the soil and taking it the other end of the plot to fill in the last trench,  I decided it was silly to just dump or compost the annual weeds.  So I hand weeded and filled an old plastic paint (very strong) bucket with annual weeds, vegetable peelings, grass and nettle tops, but not potato peelings because their eyes will sprout and you will end up with rogue potato plants next year.  
  Trenches filled with weeds..Overgrown area waiting to be trenched and hand weeding.  You can dig them off with your Azada grubbing hoe or just with the blade of the spade.  I prefer to hand weed them and pull out any perennial weeds roots like docks and nettles.
  If you want to do job really thoroughly.  When you dig out the first foot of soil in the trench.  Get a fork or pike and break up the compacted 'pan' of subsoil and clay.  New houses are prone to hard pans from site traffic compacting the soil.  It also helps drainage and to bring air and oxygen into the soil.  

If you read any old gardening books.  You will read about 'bastard' trenching.  Lots of double digging and a walk like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
  Nowadays it's common to see no digging being practiced on vegetable plots.  You spread your compost out on top of the surface and the worms and rain take the compost down under the soil.  I think it's a good system if your compost is well decomposed.  But if it's not it will grow out on top of the soil.  Anybody like trench composting?
x

12 comments:

  1. I don't know anything about trench composting but it sounds like a simple and effective idea for making things grow. But all gardening involves hard work. I used to have a small vegetable plot and would dig it over but I have to say it is very hard work. I am sorry your brother had a stroke; as you will know from my blog my brother did too, at Easter. He is now recovering. I hope your brother is getting better. These things stop us a bit don't they.

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    1. Thanks Rachel. Yes gardening is hard work. I make a smaller veg plt every year I get older. My brother is slowly recovering but he will never be the same. Things do stop us. Good job we don't know the future. The stroke unit was a real eye opener for us up at Cork University hospital. Strokes strike people of all ages. Thanks and enjoy your Russia trip/

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  2. Replies
    1. Don't they say the old ways are the best Cumbrian?

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    2. Yes, true enough, I don't think good practice in gardening aver goes out of fashion.
      Despite what the no-diggers say.

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    3. I agree with you Cumbrian good garden practice and good land husbandry never goes out of fashion. I think the old garden writer's wrote in a time when you had goodhot summer's and rough cold winter's when the frosts and rains would kill off all the nasties hiding in the soil and leave the gardener with lovely friable topsoil like the stuff you find in a mole hill. They were also not frightened of hard physical labour. Would love to have seen Britain during the Dig For Victory campaign. I bet the Land Girls were great to see too. Thanks!

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  3. I am sorry that your Brother has been ill.

    The lasagne method for gardening seems to work quite well. The cardboard holds moisture and stops weeds. Very good for beans.

    Gardening is good for the soul.

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    1. Thanks Sol.

      I have experimented with lasagna gardening. I find it's good except that it harbours homes for snails and slugs. Beans are Legumes and they are one of the few crops that leave the soil full of nitrogen. You;re right gardening is good for the soul. Thanks!

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  4. I've done ti with comfrey under beans and that seemed to work great. Looks like you've got lovely soil there.

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    1. I have grown nustard and strimmed it down and dug it into the soil. Mustard is good for old grassland which was what my veg plot use to be used for pasture. Wireworm hate it but you can't follow it with brassica's because mustard is a brassica. Getting into my compost heap now. It's full of juicy brandling worms. Any angler would love them. Thanks!

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  5. Hope your brother is making a good recovery Dave.

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    1. Thanks Anne. Good weather here at the moment. Seem to get better weather in October than we do in summer.

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