Today I returned to OrganicLea to find it bathed in sunshine, a great change from the snow of my previous visits. Now that spring is on the way, it was time to start working on the plants for the first time since I’ve been going.
The tasks today were mainly mulching some the fruit they have. Mulching isn’t something I know a lot about but learning more about it from the team, it seems the benefits are worth the initial effort.
Benefits of mulching:
- Suppresses weeds therefore reducing the need to weed later in the year.
- Traps water. As we’ve just had a couple of rainy days, the ground was damp, so the layers we were adding was going to trap this moisture and stop the sun from drying out the ground.
- Adds organic matter and nutrients to the soil.
- Helps balance the ph.
The morning saw us concentrate on ‘Raspberry Row’ which is two lines of raspberry canes sandwiched between apple and pear single cordons. Raspberries like a slightly acidic soil (around ph 6 – 6.5) but where the team planted them used to have a building on, where the lime from the foundations had raised the ph to around 7.5. To improve the conditions for the raspberries and therefore the likelihood of a good and productive crop, the team was using conifer clippings instead of compost to balance the ph level.
With the work completed on the raspberries in the morning, after enjoying a lunch of chips (I did a quick bike run to the chippy : ) we moved on to the rhubarb.