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The last few weeks have been absolutely beautiful in Norfolk. Early mornings on the allotment, pottering in the Rhino Greenhouse have been such a joy. There are still plenty of crops being harvested including some really lovely pointed cabbages. A few have been completely munched by slugs, meaning there’s a few less than last year but those that survived are delicious.
There’s lots to do at this time of year and one job that is a must, is mulching. My plot is no dig and veganic (organic and without the use of animal products) so each year a layer of plant based mulch is used on all of the beds. The winter weather and worms help the nutrients to work into the soil and next spring it’ll be ready for planting. Last year for the first time in many, I didn’t mulch. I like to experiment! The soil is so good, did it really need mulch? The answer is yes it did! Without the mulch, there were so many more weeds.
Mulching saves water and improves the soil but it also helps to keep weeds down - it can even deter slugs and snails depending on what mulch you use. It's extremely advantageous to the garden as long as the mulch is organic and adds nutrients as it decomposes. Mulch includes woodchip, home made compost, manure, straw and hay, bark, grass clippings, plant based compost and many more.
Since I didn’t mulch, I will always remember 2023 as the year of the weeds. I still don't have as many weeds as some other plots but I have more than I've had in years including a huge covering of Oxalis corniculata (creeping wood sorrel) which is growing rapidly in abundance, Convolvulus arvensis (field bindweed) which is a little easier to control than the common bindweed. So I’ll be having a light tidy up (I like to leave plenty for wildlife over winter) but the cultivated beds will be having a good mulch!