Pulling plants is an important part of maintaining a happy garden
Roots support a microcosm of life within the soil. Beneficial bacteria and fungi thrive in a root-filled environment and attract other life forms such as worms and arthropods. These contribute to the biodiversity and nutrient density of the garden bed.
Harvesting the plants at the base allows the roots to die in the soil. They then provide a food source for soil life, add organic matter (carbon) to the soil, and create channels that promote the movement of oxygen and water through the soil. This is a great benefit particularly in garden beds with little biodiversity and where worm activity is low, because the channels that roots leave behind help aerate and support soil hydration.
We are most likely to clear a whole bed of harvested plants where the plants are long-growing, i.e. around 12 to 16 weeks till maturity. But short-growing plants such as leafy greens are also cleared frequently. And usually we’ll leave one or two plants to go to seed in a corner to supply next season’s sowing.
What to do
1. Identify the beds that are ready to clear.
3. Identify the plants with large root systems, such as broccoli.
4. Using the garden fork to loosen the roots if required, gently pull and lift the whole plant out of the soil, roots and all.
6. Put the plants in your wheelbarrow.
9. Put the plants in your wheelbarrow.