There was not a single day in November when it didn’t rain here, there was only one in December and, so far, there has been some rain on every day in January. This has meant that it’s been very difficult to work on anything in the garden. I don’t like walking on sodden ground as it damages the soil structure, and our poor, clay soil is enough of a challenge without adding to the problems.
Fortunately, however, the last week or so has been less wet and so the ground has dried just a little. Today there has been no rain so far, so I took the opportunity to mulch another of our raised beds. A while ago, whilst sorting through pots in the shed I came across an unopened pack of black plastic mulch that I’d forgotten I had bought. It was just the right size not to need and cutting and because it wasn’t windy today, I was able to get it in place without too much trouble. The bed had some old broccoli plants in it that needed to be removed first and a few brambles had to be pulled out, but otherwise all the weeds were covered with the mulch and should decompose under the plastic thus adding to the fertility of the soil. This is the second bed to be mulched this winter and I’m hoping it will make planting much easier in the spring.
Winter gardening jobs are often, like this one, not very exciting. Usually at this time of the year it’s all about preparation or tidying. My second job today was particularly tedious – the latest round in the battle against the brambles. We have an area alongside one fence that seems incapable of supporting any plants other than nettles and brambles… however much we cut them back and dig them up, they just keep coming back. I’ve tried all sorts of other plants in this patch, but nothing survives, so really now we just try to keep it under control and accept that it’s good for the wildlife. It would, however, without management, get totally out of control, so we attack it regularly with the secateurs.
And that was it in the garden – important jobs, but nowhere near as fun as planting. There is no germination yet in the propagator, but the left-over seed potatoes that I put in pots in November are growing, so we may have a small crop in the spring. They are currently outside, but they can come back into the limery if the temperature drops. So now, I’m just itching for spring to arrive and for gardening to start in earnest.