Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Making Order Out Of Chaos

I wish I had greater self discipline.
If I had, my veg garden wouldn't look quite so bad as it does at the moment

because I would have spent a few days in the Autumn tidying up, and generally putting everything to bed for the winter, like a proper gardener.

Of course I do have the very best of intentions as the summer season draws to its end. But come September and I'm snowed under with the harvest of apples and tomatoes and so on that need to be dealt with, and then in November I start to think about Christmas, and then whoof! before you know it, it's December and I've lost all my inclination to go out there until here I am in January surveying the bleak prospect. Again.

Anyway I made a start today by having a good tidy up. One of the benefits of having designated beds rather than traditional rows is that although the ground was still frozen , you can sort things out without needing to walk on the growing areas very much at all, so that compaction and damage to the soil structure is kept to a  minimum. So they're worth having if only for that. There are a few things still soldiering on, a row of perpetual spinach seems unaffected by the weather, but most of my brassicas, not usually great specimens in any case, are looking a bit past it. Some of the kale may be usable and some leeks, but I should really have dug them up before the snow. And of course, Jerusalem Artichokes, which are always around in January.

And that's about it really, so much for my plan of keeping us in salad greens during the winter! I should have grown my chicory in the greenhouse bed as all the outside plants have disappeared. Note for next year.  But the makings of a large compost heap are coming together, and it's amazing how when the old bean sticks and general detritus are cleared away, it does start to look a bit more respectable.

One note I have made to myself for next year, is that I will try to reduce my use of plastic materials in the garden to zero or as close as I can get. Plastic is cheap but doesn't wear very well in the garden environment. Beside my composting pile I have a small dayglo heap consisting of the remains  of some pea and bean netting , along with some bits of lurid green plastic which were once plant trays, all of which will have to go to landfill. So no more of that thanks.

Also I will try to make more use of my Compost Blocker, a natty little device that saves using pots at all, which you can buy from the Organic Gardening Catalogue  or from Blackberry Lane  and possibly make some more paper pots, which I have used with some success in previous years.

And finally now's a good time to go through your seed box and see what you've got leftover and what you need to order. Ferris over at Adventures in a Field reminded me that the best way to check whether your last year's seeds are still viable to to sprout a few indoors as a test. Much better than finding they don't come up and wasting valuable growing time getting fresh supplies.

And if you've been moaning about the weather at all here in the UK, (it's a national pastime) do take a quick look at Grannys blog from Queensland Australia, and think how lucky we actually are!


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