The first few days of the new year have been busy in the garden. We’ve started the big cut back, planted new fruit trees, ordered seed and a polytunnel (!) and have started to prepare the growing area.
The nighttime temperature dropped to minus 3 or 4 this week, which helped spotlight frost pockets around the garden. The whole lawn area remained frozen for days, turning the earth rock solid. We topped up compost on the onion and garlic bed to help them with the plunging temperature (and to suppress the creeping buttercup).
We took up the majority of the remaining winter veg, leaving just the parsley and perpetual spinach in situ. We then aggregated the three beds and laid some new cardboard around the sides to approximately the area of the new polytunnel (14ft by 20ft).
We planted two new dessert apple trees, ‘Discovery’ and ‘Katy’, and a Victoria plum tree in a sunny sheltered position.
The big compost heap still has a long way to go as we added too much woody matter. Thankfully, as we cut back the overgrown area in the south-west corner we uncovered another source where garden waste dumped in years past has rotted down into crumbly soil. It had been covered with woody waste, most of which can be used as mulch around the trees. This area is also where grass clippings had been dumped, and we’ve bagged up about half a tonne of well-rotted clippings to use as the weed-suppressing base layer of our new raised beds.
In that corner wilderness we also found rusted metal barrels buried in the ground, a compost area (we presume) with corrugated sides, an old heating oil tank and the frame of an old glasshouse. There’s still a few metres of undergrowth to be hacked through, so who knows what else we might find.
We cut back the unruly holly tree/pussy willow mess in the middle of the garden, reclaiming much space and light in the process.