Fluffy soil

I feel like I’m chasing my tail at this time of year.  One moment I am so in control I loudly declare “I’m the most spring ready I’ve ever been!” and I am genuinely shocked at how in control things seem.   I try my best enjoy the moment without wondering what is going on behind the curtains.

Then the next moment comes that proves without a shadow of a doubt at being 100% spring ready is a fallacy, a myth and trying to get spring ready is as impossible as chasing shadows.  The unceasing rain comes and soggies up my soil and in as little as a few days I’m set back weeks.  And just as it dries out, the rain returns and re-soggies the soil.

Carrot seed
Carrot seed – ready to go in the drill. Finally.

Eventually the sun comes out, the soil is perfect – light and crumbly and releases the weeds that grew relentlessly during the rain, with ease.  I get all excited and climb into my gardening clothes only to be reminded of some pre-arranged engagement that can’t be changed.  And with a heavy heart I put on my fancy city clothes and cast a longing glance out over the garden as we drive away.   As we return towards home, the window wipers are engaged as spits and spots begin to splash on the screen.

Parsnip seeds
I’ve sown my parsnip seeds on the thick side to thin later as it was a new packet and they probably won’t be any good next year as they like to be fresh.

The grass grows taller and creates an overall illusion of a garden raging out of control and I’m as far from being spring ready as I’ve ever been.

Finally, the planets align and the weather is good, the soil is dry and I don’t have to be anywhere for hours and hours.   Choosing to ignore the latest impending storm warnings and setting the phone to silent so I wouldn’t be disturbed, I rolled up my sleeves an indulged in some serious soil dwelling.   My immediate priority was my carrots and parsnips.  These were entering my dreams and causing me to wake with worry.  They should have been in weeks ago, so it was with great pleasure I began work on preparing their soil.

Sieving the soil
Sieving the soil, because I tend to be a tad fussy with my carrot soil

The bed originally hosted a cover crop of mustard over the winter months, to try to cleanse the soil of the blight the potatoes enticed in.  There won’t be another crop in there that would be attractive to blight for 6 years in my crop rotation program, but it doesn’t hurt to clean up when you leave somewhere – it is just good manners.

The problem with the cover crop, is I had planned to dig it into the next bed, where the potatoes were going to go, but there just wasn’t the time for it to rot down before spud planting day.  I cast my eye out hopefully over the garden looking for a spot to dig it in.  I’d hate for it to go to waste – although there was always the compost pile.  The only bed not currently occupied or due to have a new tenant not due to go in sooner rather than later was where the peppers were, which will be occupied by the cucumbers and they hate the cold so won’t be going in for ages.   So I carefully dug it all in and buried the mustard beneath the soil and I really hope the cucumbers appreciated the effort.

What an extraordinary amount of rocks. I do wonder where they have come from, because I didn’t notice them when I was growing the spuds.

Once cleared of the cover crop the soil was fluffed up, because carrots like fluffy soil, however, this winter I had been experiencing rising rocks. In beds that were once loose and easy, after a winter of frost and rain, rocks began to appear on the surface.  I have no idea where they’d come from but there were a lot.  This meant – if I wanted great carrots, I needed to sieve the soil.   To be honest I probably would have sieved it anyway, just to make sure.  I dug out the soil to a spades depth, because that is about how long I want my carrots to be and dumped it into the kids old paddling pool.  Then I laid my riddle down over the hole and sieved the soil back into the bed.  It is just as well I did it as I ended up with a bucket full of rocks.  Had they been allowed to stay I would have ended up with forked carrots and they are awfully hard to peel!

Then it was just a matter of sowing the seeds, watering them well and protecting them by popping over my cool PVC cloches.  I think I need to make some more as more rainy weather is forecast and I’d hate for my seeds to rot in the ground from over watering.

Snug seeds
And there they are, all snug and tucked away in their fluffy soil.

Now my carrots and parsnips are in, I can sleep well.  I have the gentle muscle ache of a job well done and no nagging feeling that my carrots would be late.  Hopefully I won’t dream of spuds as they need to go in – pronto.  Jersey Bennes take 100 days and today it is 100 days until Christmas.  I’d hate to ruin the big day so soon in the festive season.

Come again soon – Oh my goodness – I’ve forgotten to sow my marigolds.   I need to sow my marigolds.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

14 thoughts on “Fluffy soil

  1. In envy people who are so fortunate to have good soil. It isn´t appreciated much these days. People get a new property, I dig a hole for them 3 feet deep through the most fantastic compost in 3 minutes, and they say, yeah, we will have half of it plastered anyway… In my own garden every inch is a fight (the most heavy river clay with gravel). It takes many, many years of hard work to improve that.

    1. It also frustrates me that many folk don’t recognize the value of the native soil and go to all the effort to build raised beds and bring in soil, that may even be inferior to what they have below their new gardens. You would be a perfect candidate for raised beds, I hope you create the perfect soil for yourself, sooner rather than later.
      Cheers Sarah : o)

  2. I’m looking forward to starting to prep my soil for over-wintering, ready for next spring. Having neglected the garden for the most part this year, next year will hopefully be a good one. In the meantime I’ll enjoy watching your progress. Happy growing season, may it be a good one x

  3. I understand the pull of the garden, especially at the start of spring. If the actually garden work weren’t calling you, the primal nature of rebirth that comes along with spring surely would.

    Ummm…Christmas is in 100 days? Yikes! Good luck getting those potatoes into the ground. Your fluffy soil looks terrific, even though hard one. I’m intrigued by the rising rocks. Is that common were you live? Fascinating.

    1. Hi Alys, apparently the rock thing is a common situation all around the world and it has something to do with when the soil freezes in winter.
      I’d be completely lost without my garden.
      Cheers Sarah : o)

      1. Well you learn something new every day. That makes sense given the laws of expand and contract. Our soil never freezes so it’s not something I’ve come across.

        Sarah you are one with your garden.

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