I want my soil to be ready to start planting within a few weeks. The garlic is sprouting strongly and the roots are already showing underneath the pot. Most of the broadbeans have now germinated and they too will want to be in the ground. However, the soil is still cold and wet at the moment; not at all a welcoming for young plants. So today I decided to do something about it.
First I prepared the soil in three of my beds by adding products that claim to improve the soil structure and microbial activity. To the bed above I added calcified seaweed meal, growchar and compost left over from last years tomatoes. I worked it into the top few inches of soil before covering with some empty compost sacks to keep off the rain and start to warm the soil. Adding both products was not a particularly scientific thing to do; if the plants grow well I will not know what has caused the effect. However, I will prepare other beds with just one or the other additive, or nothing at all, so that I can make a comparison.
I also prepared the beds that I have earmarked for broadbeans. One of these has been double dug (the one on the right), and the other has had the compost added to the surface. Because I am comparing these different preparation methods I have made sure to do everything else exactly the same with these two beds so I added the same amount of calcified seaweed to them both and working that into the surface before covering them both.
I hope that when I take the covers off in a couple of weeks time the soil will be warm and welcoming for my broadbeans.