Continued from page 1
Although it may be tempting, to make layout look attractive, don't stagger paths. Put them in straight lines wherever possible. Remember, you will probably be wheeling a barrow down them at some point, and a straight line is shortest route between two points.
If you're doing a four-course rotation, double dig one bed in four for four years, incorporating large quantities of compost and, if possible, farmyard manure, as you replace soil, and removing all perennial weeds. The incorporation of large amounts of organic material means that completed bed has a surface several inches higher than pathway on either side. These heavily manured beds will be used for more hungry crops, such as brassicas. Single dig and weed remainder. From this point on, beds aren't walked on or disturbed.
The initial manuring of beds will provide adequate nutrients for first year's cropping. From then on an annual dressing of blood, fish and bone or another organic fertiliser in Spring, together with further applications of compost as a mulch, will keep soil fertility high.
Check pH of beds every other year with a soil testing kit and apply a sprinkling of calcified seaweed if beds are becoming too acid. Avoid any major disturbance of soil: just sprinkle fertiliser or calcified seaweed onto surface and hoe it in lightly. Because soil is so friable, it is possible to harvest deep-rooting crops such as carrots, parsnips, salsify and scorzonera without aid of a fork: they can simply be pulled out by hand.
Frann lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. She has her own internet marketing business and is always on the lookout to recruit go-getters like herself. Find out more: here