At last the year has turned and it is growing lighter, though not warmer. Today is not bad, though the morning is wet. But tomorrow night it will be freezing.
The first job is to prepare the soil for the next season.I am still in the process of going over to all raised beds, and am part way there. Some new beds must be filled with compost, which has had to be bought in. There are still some brassicas to be picked, and they have coped well with the winter, which has not been bad
But I am experimenting with a German technique called hugel culture. A hugel is a kind of mound, a raised bed without walls. At its base is a small pit filled with twigs or logs and leaves. It is then covered with a layer of turf, if you can get it. Above that is the compost and soil layer. The twigs rot down over years, providing nutrient. You can grow good crops in hugels, and I am looking forward to the summer's growth.
I took the compost for the hugel from my compost bins. I had a large bin full of kitchen compost that was well matured. I had to evict a rat, which had got into the warmth of the bin. But I did that before Christmas.I also used up one of my compost heaps, so there was enough compost. I intend to make the hugel larger over the coming months. There is no hurry.
But pruning is a major job. My son, Andrew, is a fruit tree specialist and he has promised to do the job for me. But he is getting married soon and my be taken up with domestic matters in the next month or two. We will see.
Happy New Year, Gardeners
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