Friday, 10 May 2013

Tilth! We don't have any!

I keep reading that seeds needed to be planted in seed beds with a 'fine tilth'. 

Wikipedia says: Good tilth is a term referring to soil that has the proper structure and nutrients to grow healthy crops. Soil in good tilth is loamy, nutrient-rich soil that can also be said to be friable because optimal soil has a mixture of sand, clay and organic matter that prevents severe compaction.

But we don't have tilth at all at Labartere. We have old river bed. Stones we have in plenty. Clay, we have some of that too. Tilth? Nope. 

Last year I started off a lot of seeds in our tardis......

.....this was not the resounding success it should have been,  mostly because I kept forgetting to cover the tardis up during the heat of the day so a lot of the seedlings frizzled. 

So this year I am going to plant straight out into the veg plots. However, another thing I am not good at is thinning a row of seedlings, always leaving it too late so either the seedlings have grown too big or the weeds are jostling them too much, making everything  grow into a mucky mess.

So I came up with a plan:
1. Make row,
2. Put little piles of compost along the row at regular intervals.
3. Put two or three seeds in each little pile.
4. Cover over each little pile with non-cloddy earth. 

Et voila!

It does take a bit of effort to do, but should save time in the long run. Lack of tilth is remedied by the compost, and not much thinning out will need to be done because the seedlings are widely spaced out. Well, that's the plan, now all I have to do is remember to water. 

.....and look! An edifice recently built by Lester and myself. It looks wonky but isn't. 

....and here is the patch I am planting at the moment. The potatoes are in the furthest patch. 

....and here is our pregnant sow....

....and here is Orpy Junior, watching over a hen who is under the tall plant. Much as I have tried to discourage this new communal nest site, Orpy is adamant that this is the right spot. He has spent days choosing it. The fact that it is a handy spot for nest robbers, like Bools, Gus, Maz, Blue, and the magpies, to reach is not something which is anywhere in his head. 

Re: the Seed Plan: just had a look in the veg plot, five rows of seeds up, evenly spaced, will not need thinning. Whooppeee! The plan looks like a go-er!


SueC said...

your soil looks about as bad as mine - no tilth here either - thinning carrots etc impossible during the summer. Once it gets hot ( it will get hot this year won't it?) my garden tool of choice is the mattock!

Vera said...

Hi SueC, the mattock is for me as well! Same problem with you in regards to thinning seedlings, that's why I thought I would put them in already thinned out! Probably end up with loads of gaps now!
By the way, I do try and leave a comment on your blog but it always come back into my email tray as 'not accepted'. And yes, it will get hot soon, and then we shall asking 'When it is going to rain!'

Horst in Edmonton said...

Do they sell black top soil in bulk in your area? Something to investigate. The best thing for a garden is to put as much vegetable matter in the garden year after year.

rusty duck said...

Clay and stones here too. And complete absence of tilth. But I wish I had all your space..

John Gray said...

I lost 5 hens to a greedy sow
I hope your fowl don't meet a similar fate

Vera said...

Horst, have started doing that!

Jessica, and I sometimes wish I had your raised beds!

John, the hens don't go into the pig pens since they started getting electric shocks from the fencing! Still, there is always a first time so will watch out!

Niall & Antoinette said...

Oh good on you with the seedlings!

We have heavy clay on top of chalk here. Hellishly heavy to dig and sticks to spades like glue. It was no fun when we put in our baby fruit trees.

If we ever get round to a veg plot it will be in raised beds.

DUTA said...

Your plan of planting the seeds shows you've got an inventive mind.

Anyway, with today's technology I've seen wonders done in our desert soil. It seems everything is possible nowadays.

Rachel said...

Your Tardis! Are you a fellow Whovian??? ;)

Jean said...

We don't have tilth here either, just a thin layer of something on top of something else that makes it all hard work.
Your rows of seeds look marvellous.....I hope they all come up ok.