Every year about now, I get in a bit of a tizzy about the garden, especially the vegetable patch. I draw plans, redraw, write lists of seeds, plot over how to crop rotate. Then, most years about 50% of the planning goes out the window come April when there is so much to do, and planting starts in ernest and I usually run out of space, hah! Not sure I’ll ever completely solve this issue until I have a sprawling country house set up with numerous greenhouses (hot and cold), a polytunnel and at least a couple of sheds for propergating. As it stands I have one shed, one mini greenhouse and one coldframe and lots of pots of seedlings standing on my kitchen windowsill. I think most people are the same though, so it can’t be helped.
On top of this I usually plan some type of complete renovation of a part of the garden, then realise I’ve left it too late and everything is starting to grow already. Now is almost the last chance to make changes to the landscape before the shoots really start moving.
So today I was in a quandry, do I go out and tidy the beds?, or dig out the new flower beds?, or sow some seeds?, or shift the huge pile of weedy turf that if bagged up could provide a very useful spare vegetable bed? This afternoon the weather was bitter with harsh north easterly winds. I looked outside and wondered if it was wise even going out there. Finally I decided the best job on such a cold day was to dig to get warm, so I opted to turn over the soil to aerate the new raised beds before I add new compost. This isn’t something I will do next year, just now as we had such bad flooding, it compacted the soil completely.
The top bed dug
The weather was unforgiving, biting at my cheeks and penetrating my toes, but I stuck to the job in hand, and was pleasantly surprised to find the soil turning over nicely. Before long I had completed the first bed and was marvelling at how lovely the soil looked! Almost crumbly.
The ‘clay’ bed before
Yet then I walked over to the other side, the clay bed, and yes the mud stuck to my fork and my back ached. It wasn’t that tough really, it was a simple but satisfying job.
Now the soil will get plenty of frost and the winds will dry it out hopefully making it lovely to work with in a month’s time (when the clocks will go forward).
The clay bed after (with garlic)
Then I went inside for a well earned cup of tea and to sow some seeds…