Last winter was so wet here in Tacumshin that any digging of soil was impossible from December through to April. Meanwhile the mild temperatures encouraged plenty of scutch, docks and other nuisance weeds to thrive over the winter.
This autumn it is time to experiment with a new strategy. Once the veg harvests are in storage, the vacant veg beds are manured and then covered with black plastic. We use sand on the plastic along the edges of these long veg beds to keep the plastic secure in this windy location. The wetter the sand becomes in the rain, the better it will secure the black plastic sheeting.
Each sheet of black plastic covers about a 3 metre stretch of veg bed. In spring, we will uncover these sections of soil as and when we need them to plant up young veg plants. The soil should be teeming with life in this dark manure rich environment over winter. After planting up, attention to weeding will be critical during the growing season. The addition of organic matter in the soil will hopefully mean less of a need to irrigate. Mind you, the addition of small quantities of building sand which was used to weigh down the black plastic previously will speed up drainage to some extent.