The Winter Solstice has passed and the hopes of new growth in Spring are still a few weeks off. At this time of the year we retreat and rest, taking advantage of the long dark nights and short days. This is the same for your soil.
I’ve covered most of my soil over to keep in all the nutrients, minerals and lovely dark humus matter, it’s keeping it warm and protected from the elements (I don’t want the rain to leach them all out, my vegetables need them!). When it gets warmer the soil will be ready, the days longer, so the planting can begin. However, the brassica bed, which was continuing to produce lovely vegetables and leaves well into the winter, has been devoured. A wet autumn made the chicken run a muddy mess so ‘The Doris’, (four rather large hens) were given free range in the vegetable garden. The beetroot has been kicked round like footballs, kale, cabbage and chard have been eaten to within a millimetre of existence but the soil has been beautifully scrapped through and turned over. The results are eggs with yellow yolks as bright as a beautiful mid-summer sun. So all things considered, that’s not too bad a trade-off.
My plans for this years’ crops are being considered. I use the phases of the Moon as a planting guide and as we enter the dark moon phase in January, I am reading my notes from last years’ growing diary, trying to work out what will grow best and what gave results I hadn’t quite expected last year? Also, do I really want to grow that many courgettes this year? Setting aside time during the waxing phase of the moon, I can work on my order for seeds, plugs and plants, then as the moon reaches its’ fullness on 21st January, I can visualise my lovely little vegetable garden, full of life, colour and food. As the moon wanes, my thoughts turn to preparing the planting calendar, as I retreat once more in front of a cosy fire with a mug of fennel tea (yes, harvested from the garden) resting, ready for new growth.