19 May 2012

Feeding The Soil

Back to tilling the soil today. Luckily didn’t encounter any of those piratical cut-throat – I mean cutworm – caterpillars.

Taking a belts and braces approach to improving the soil left by the leylandii I’ve sown some green manure seed. I love this idea that nutrients are added from the whole plant rather than concentrated fertiliser produced in a factory. It’s like us eating our 5 a day, and not relying on vitamin supplements for our health. Individual nutrients can be isolated and taken to top up levels but to thrive we must eat whole foods, and as natural as possible. Scientists are still learning how vitamins work, for example the recent fuss about vitamin D. Are plants simpler, in that it’s merely a matter of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, or perhaps like humans they too need these elements within a complex matrix of others? Maybe I’m being romantic but it feels right to feed the soil with vegetable matter; to put back what came out. Synergy, people, synergy!

The seed, a general mix, came from a web based company greenmanure. They’ve obviously spent money on marketing. Their Google ranking is high (put in the term ‘green manure’ and see what happens), the design of the website and packaging has a modern Waitrose-like vibe, and the seeds came in a brown paper bag with its organic, Abel and Cole, anti-capitalism, fingers up to The Man associations . Even though I know I am being manipulated I bought from them – you’ve got to keep your standards up haven’t you?

According to greenmanure the 50g of seed would be enough for 17 square metres, which is 3g per square metre. I obediently weighed this out, but it produced so few seeds that I ignored that advice and threw on the amount that looked right. Surely everyone else does this if they were honest. I bet even Monty does.

So, we shall see what happens in a few weeks’ time. I’m quite excited.