November has been a wet and windy month and now December is making its ferocious presence felt. We have got off lightly here in Hampshire compared with the North.T
he gales have caused some minor damage but it’s the volume of never-ending rain that has left our heavy, clay soil sodden. That makes it very difficult to work. It sticks to your boots and spade but more importantly there’s no air in the soil which is vital for the roots to work efficiently.
Good soil is “friable” which means light and crumbly. Mine is waterlogged. I wanted to plant my red onion sets and garlic cloves. Onion sets are usually planted in early spring but this variety Electric can be planted in the autumn. Mine had been hanging around for so long while I waited for the weather to improve that they had begun to sprout.
Sets are baby onions whose growth has been briefly halted. Once they’re planted they’ll start to grow on. Garlic planted in the autumn usually produces bigger bulbs. We’re trying Marco this year. Neither like sitting in waterlogged soil.
I covered the raised beds with polythene to try to dry it out a little. Then I dug in a load of garden compost to try to break up the clay. I loosened the soil up as much as I could and gently planted the sets and cloves.
There’s a good chance they’ll all rot if this current weather continues. I was amazed at just how wet the soil was even in the raised beds which should allow better drainage. We’ll just have to wait and see if the weather calms down and we have some good dry spells.