Friday, March 27, 2015

Look after your soil

Apparently the UN have declared 2015 the International Year of Soils.  No, I haven't heard any publicity about this either; it was drawn to my attention by a gardening newsletter to which I subscribe.

Coincidentally, over in Ambridge yesterday (not to mention the day before), Adam was waxing lyrical about the importance of looking after the soil we are growing on now or we will not be able to grow on it in the future.  Well, the lyrical bit is not strictly necessary, but obviously the main point is.  For disenchanted ex-listeners of The Archers, this storyline at least is following the original purpose of the programme, which was to remind farmers what they ought to be doing, so you may wish to listen again.

It's also what gardeners ought to do, especially if you are trying to grow vegetables.  I am quite good at this and have been doing it for more than twenty years.  I have a 6 bed rotation of crops.  I heard somewhere over the last year that 'they' have decided this is no longer particularly useful in a vegetable garden, but I shall continue to follow it because I disagree with that.  For one thing, it means that I always use garden compost (if I have any) and last year's growbag compost (ditto) on the first two or three beds until the compost runs out, so by rotating, I know the compost gets added evenly over the years.  I also buy additional stuff to dig in where appropriate.

Over the past five or six years my vegetable gardening has been a bit erratic and this year promises to be little different!  I have, however, started preparing the first two beds, ready for planting onions and sowing root vegetables.  As for the rest - it will have to take its chance as usual.  I hope to post about it a bit more often this year, though. 

I have spent the last week suffering from a lurgy.  Not to go on about it too much, it has just taken a big bite out of my life and indeed I'm still not back to normal.  I am trying not to stress about the gardening and work I am not doing though.  If you can forgive my stretching a metaphor somewhat - I'm trying to acknowledge that we can't grow anything - ourselves, our relationships, our creative work - unless our own soil base is healthy.  That means physical health, for sure, but also mental health.  So I'm trying to be relaxed about it.  It isn't easy!

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