On July 26th we dug the couch-grass, dock and dandelion roots out of the winter brassica beds ready for planting. This was already one month later than last year, but then it's been another funny year this one. We covered the beds in thick black plastic (weighted down with plenty of tyres and rocks) for nine months beforehand, then rolled the plastic back and forked through the earth. Although not perfect, it was a vast improvement on preparing beds that hadn't been covered in that way, there being no surface weeds, and even some of the couch roots appeared to have died. We prepared 8 beds in one day, so about 6 times faster than if we'd not used black plastic. The seeds of corn spurrey do not get killed by this treatment however, and the beds still need regular hoeing.
Anne, Lea, Jim, Bryan and Rowena hard at work.
Anne, Jim, Rowena, Bryan, Will and Lea - getting there.
These 8 beds were then treated with crushed limestone to raise the pH, left for 2 weeks, then planted - 5 beds of Brussels sprouts transplanted from an outdoor seedbed, one bed of winter cauliflowers raised in modules, and 2 beds of Red Winter kale transplanted from another outdoor seedbed. Sadly not a single purple sprouting broccoli seedling survived the slug onslaught that this wet "summer" has inflicted on us. Meaning we now have 11 beds of Red Winter kale - wonderful stuff, hope you like it too!