Garden And Gardener

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Need to dig but it’s raining?

by Diane - April 23rd, 2012.
Filed under: allotment.

If you’ve just been given an allotment plot which needs some work doing on it, then you might be under pressure to get it started. If it’s raining where you are and the ground is soggy though it might not be a good idea.
On clay soil it’ll just turn to mush and you’ll be wading around in very sticky clay. Whilst you might not mind, you are further damaging the soil structure by further compacting clay together.

Look at your options.
– you could cover all the ground with weed fabric. This would help to start killing off the weeds making it easier for the digging when you get the weather for it.
weed fabric might also help warm the soil up and encourage worms underneath also improving the soil.
– you could cover the soil in cardboard and newspaper and mulch it with either the compost heap you have on site, or some well rotted manure. This helps suppress the weeds and makes the soil easier to dig when you get chance – or you can plant through it.
– you could use a lazy bed system as described earlier – where you don’t actually dig, just rearrange the turf.
– you could make raised beds with pallet collars or specially bought edging wood
– you could stand on boards and dig parts that don’t look as soggy. Standing on boards means your weight is a bit more spread out and you’ll get less mud on your boots. It makes the digging harder though – as you might have to lean over more.

– you could put your wellies on and get completely muddy.
an option most people will find really tiring as the mud sticks to your boots making your footing harder to keep.

If you’re on a deadline because you’re a probationary plotholder then speak to the committee and ask for advice about digging in wet soil. They might advise you to leave it well alone or point out areas that they know are less soggy on your site.
Sometimes you’ll find that you can’t do much on your plot but there’s bound to be something you can do to make it look like you’ve been on and are trying.
Most allotment association committees will be sympathetic to people who take on a site at this time of year when the weather is bad.

You could try these raised beds from Harrod Horticultural

Allotment Wooden Raised Beds - No Capping

Allotment Wooden Raised Beds – No Capping £13.00
Allotment Wooden Raised Beds are ideal if you’re new to raised bed gardening and growing your own veg and you might not want to splash out on the best wooden raised beds money can buy – and that is precisely the reason why they have added this budget FSC Timber Allotment Raised Bed kit to the range – supplied with pre-drilled planks internal wooden corner fixing posts galvanised screws and easy assembly instructions. Allotment Wooden Raised Bed Prices start from as little as £13!