MARCUS HAS IDENTIFIED IT AS GALANGAL GINGER. Thank you Marcus :)
I'm trying to identify exactly what I have here - ginger? galangal? Can't be Turmeric as the flesh is whiteish but there is a pinkish tinge to the skin. It smells gingery to me (with my poor sense of smell) and I grated some and used it last night.
It's very hard and rather woody, not like the lovely ginger I buy at the shops, but grated ok.
The soil in the entire bed should be friable. I've created it myself from cuttings, compost and store bought garden soil (it used to be a pond and took some filling).
Have you noticed that when there is a lot of earthworm activity, the soil appears to become compacted? That's because the worms secrete mucus that binds soil particles together. It's not really compacted, it'll break apart fairly enough, but there is only a very thin layer of friable soil on top. Used to drive me nuts when I am replenishing the shallow planters so in the end I put all the worms back into the garden.
That's interesting about the worms.
I think the compaction is worse in this bed because it tends to hold a large amount of water during the wet. There's still black plastic down the bottom (it was a pond) that I couldn't remove at the time and this is exacerbating the problem.
Some of my other beds are very hard too - I have a clay soil and have been working for years to improve it with organic matter. I should probably throw around some clay breaker again.