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New Fruit Beds Wahoo!
Tue 26-Jul-16
11:16 am
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bonniet

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Tue 12-Jul-16
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Over the moon that I have a tonne of muck arriving on Saturday from a local farmer - well rotted farmyard manure, delivered for £30 - bargain!

I have been measuring out and staking what will be my new soft fruit bed. I have a patch about 3m x 10m - does that sounds about right for a household of two?

Hoping for gooseberries, currants (all colours), rasps (summer and autumn) and strawberries, with a corner for some rhubarb crowns. I know they all need space, so hoping this size will be OK.

Determined to get bare root plants in the ground in autumn, I don't care if I have to double dig all the way through sweltering august! (my wedding dress may even fit me!).

Will be having to double dig the turf on the surface into the trench, then cover it with the manure and subsoil. Does this sound reasonable?

I have some nice 2x6 inch wood to edge it with as well, lifted form my old allotment. Squee excitement!!

Will be watching jam making posts on here with interest and anticipation...

"A pretty face is fine, but what a farmer needs is a woman who can carry a pig under each arm"

Building the dream while chained to the desk...my blog The Part Time Smallholder

Tue 26-Jul-16
3:43 pm
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Toffeeapple
North Bucks

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Tue 22-Sep-09
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I think Bob Flowerdew would recommend that you strip off the turf and store it grass-side down, then when it has composted, using it as topsoil.  Is it necessary to double dig?  I don't think many people do that nowadays, it's more 'no dig'.  Good luck with it all, I wish you a happy plot! 

I'll try that again!

Tue 26-Jul-16
9:10 pm
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irist
Cornwall UK

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Mon 23-May-11
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I'd echo what TA has said.  Take off the turf and pile up grass side down.  I'd then break up the surface of the topsoil in your plot (with a fork if you like hard work, rotavate if you don't) then pile the muck on and let the worms take it down.  Raspberries and strawberries are both shallow rooted so don't need double digging.  You can always dig a deeper hole for your bushes and put muck in the bottom before back filling with topsoil.  The rhubarb will appreciate a good load of muck mixed in the soil around the crown and a deep mulch over winter.

Wed 27-Jul-16
6:26 pm
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bonniet

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Tue 12-Jul-16
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Hmm, it is tempting not to double dig the whole lot, I must admit. The only thing is we are on thick, bright orange Wiltshire clay, with awful drainage. I worry that a nice hole for the trees with well rotted manure would be a problem when their roots eventually venture out into the clay? 

I remember at collage (I did an RHS diploma) our tutor showed us a tree a student had planted a few years previous, where the roots had formed a perfect cylinder as they spiralled back into the compost they were planted in, every time they hit the clay!

That said, our plot was a field until about 2002 so would have been cultivated I assume.

I will definitely give no-dig some thought!

"A pretty face is fine, but what a farmer needs is a woman who can carry a pig under each arm"

Building the dream while chained to the desk...my blog The Part Time Smallholder

Thu 28-Jul-16
8:47 am
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Sooliz
Somerset

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Double digging?  Far too much like hard work....even husband, who was always a bit of a masochist when it came to double digging, doesn't do it anymore, even with new beds.  He just keeps putting organic matter (like horse poo, mushroom compost which he buys in sacks really cheaply from a local nursery, and spent compost) on the beds, lightly forking it in.  As Iris says, the worms take it down and it improves the soil structure no end eventually.

I don't know if you've ever grown raspberries before.....if you haven't, then my advice would be don't plant too many - they are rampant thugs!  They grow extremely quickly and send up loads of runners everywhere - you'll quickly have a bed dominated by a forest of raspberries!  Husband made the mistake year before last of building a strawberry trough and fixing it to the fence behind the raspberry bed - great idea, he thought, will help keep the slugs and mice off them if they're raised up.  Only, once the strawberries were actually fruiting, we virtually had to hack our way, like jungle explorers, through the raspberry forest to get to them  doh

learning to love veg…..except celery :-O

Fri 29-Jul-16
3:18 pm
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bonniet

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Tue 12-Jul-16
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Oh dear Sooliz, yes, point well made. I have grown them before, but on an allotment I had to give up before they got too comfortable. I will be sure to only have one narrow row of each, spaced well apart!

"A pretty face is fine, but what a farmer needs is a woman who can carry a pig under each arm"

Building the dream while chained to the desk...my blog The Part Time Smallholder

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