PRESSURE ON TO MAKE FOUR PLOTS OF SOIL IN NEW GREENHOUSE – SECOND WEEK IN SEPTEMBER 2011

The greenhouse has needed three hours or so of work, but I’ve been busy writing ABOUT ‘organic growing in a small garden’ instead of looking after my own patch. There are publishing deadlines at present which take precedent over a number of outstanding jobs in the garden. One of these jobs is the harvesting of the potatoes from those sturdy potato bags. My plan has been to use the excellent soil left behind after the potato harvest as soil to kit out my new greenhouse.

However the greenhouse is sited on what was the lawn. If I had poured soil in there, the grass would quickly grow up and take over the space. First goal was to kill off the grass. A couple of months ago when the greenhouse was installed, I covered the grass with black miopex. Today I set aside the time to remove this light excluding membrane. What I found underneath was brown grass, but with some moisture, this could green up and grow again. However, it was easy enough to skim the top couple of centimetres off with a garden fork and remove the wilted grass sod.

Now the grass sods were gone for composting, I could assemble the wood I had bought and cut some time ago, and make a narrow pathway and raised beds from timber planks to create four plots. The plan is to rotate the protected crops just as the outdoor crops are rotated. For the moment the plots need more good soil to make the raised permanent beds.

Harvesting the potatoes is therefore a win-win operation. I gently lift a full potato growing bag in to the greenhouse and empty it out in the space created for a raised bed. Once the potatoes have been removed to make a few dinners, the remaining soil, full of worms thanks to the addition of seaweed to the potato bags. All that remains to be done then is to level of the heap of potato-less soil in readiness for use as a new raised bed.

Time now to sow Winter salad seeds in the new greenhouse and start making a slow return on the small but beautifully formed glass and metal investment, much of which was a gift for my 50th birthday from my Fingal Green friends. Go raibh maith agaibh, a Chairde Ghlais!

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