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Winter preparations

For the past two days I've been clearing all those bits of vegetables and a few weeds from the beds. Tedious task but certainly a needed task.

Slowly emptying the compost darlek's and spreading it 2 - 3 inch deep over the beds . The soil is so claggy due to the rain over the past few weeks its almost impossible to dig over properly. So the compost will just lie on top until the Spring.

Hopefully later on this morning, I'll be able to get down the local stable and stock up on manure. Being only able , due to the size of our now car, carry 5 - 6 bags at a time. So this will mean a few journeys. Its times like this I really do miss my old 4 x 4...

Depending on how old the manure is,  I'll make the decision as to storing it or spreading it directly on the beds later.
I do like to spread it directly onto the beds, good deep layer and allow the winter's rain and snow to take it into the ground.
Done this in the past even with reasonably fresh manure. Come spring time raking off any remaining cobs of manure, adding them to the compost mix.

Rhubarb and asparagus beds still to be a reasonably full day ahead, best get on with it.....catch you all later

Let us know your winter preparations..
Some new ideas to me  and other might help us all out...  

Ha - winter preparations come in many stages starting with the composting.

First clear the oldest compost heap of marrows, courgettes, patty pan, cucumbers and put these on the newer compost heap. Then move this heap to points where it can be dug in on the vegetable area.

Second - move the newer compost heap to the cleared area (has the advantage of turning it over and incorporating the newest stuff). Cover and leave for next year's marrows, courgettes, patty pan, cucumbers.

Third - start a new compost heap.

I was given a huge roll of black plastic in 2007 free and use this as covers for compost heaps rather than spending money on compost containers. Oh and it enables me to use areas under the tall hedges I inherited to make compost heaps but where nothing else would grow. One of them is in a lovely sheltered but sunny position and that's great for the squash family and cousins.

By this time of the year I already have winter onions, elephant and other garlic already planted up in clear areas in the vegetable patch.

I also take October/November as the clearing out of the shed month. It's called stock taking as in do I have enough seed trays, drip trays, small pots, what fertilisers are hiding in corners waiting to be used up, do I have enough fleece for the start of next year, what is the state of play with the canes, how does the green netting look, how many of the plastic labels can I use again, do I have enough string, what rubbish has collected that needs throwing away, what tools need sharpening .......

Over the winter I also clear under the hedge footers - very old hedges full of ivy which is much appreciated for food in February. But this here ivy is taken back once a year at ground level to stop it creeping out over the whole plot. This usually leads to a bonfire at some point as ivy doesn't compost. Had a lovely fire on Boxing Day last year when it was dry and I had nothing else to do.

Some years I spend October leaf collecting but this year I've filled up the space available and am waiting till next year to dig out the results. Next October and November could be leaf collecting but the council is getting too efficient and there may not be as many as there used to be.

Managed to get some manure yesterday. Unfortunately nowhere near the amount, I'd hoped for.  
The stables I have used for more year than I care to remember, now put a sign up advertising "Free Manure".
It saves them a small fortune, as they are charged a couple of hundred quid a year to have it all removed.
I'll have to call there more often in future.

What I did manage to get, has been mixed with the compost and finally spread onto the beds.
Just a couple of beds left in need. Will be out this week looking for more supplies of the black gold.

All in a good weekend  

Me too. Yesterday I whipped out all the peppers etc from the left hand side of the poly. The membrane that I use to keep the weeds down had also had it, so I whipped that out too. Time to cart some well rotted manure in now.

bodger wrote:
Time to cart some well rotted manure in now.

  ..on your way to the Staff's show....a couple of bag full would be gratefully received.....    

You're worse than my mother. She can never understand why we are so reluctant to travel for three hours with bags of shit in the car for her.

bodger wrote:
You're worse than my mother. She can never understand why we are so reluctant to travel for three hours with bags of **** in the car for her.

Bet Grandma Bodger would find you some Soap on arrival......  
Grandma Bodger

I would certainly provide the soap but as Im hoping to travel withn them to  Stafford with them I will allow you to leave the bags of you know what behind

Not much clearing out in the greenhouse here due to being bogged down with my dads house sale(contents etc) so just sorting out greenhouse for the littly chickens to settle into. Cleaned, weeded & limed, hopefully tomorrow littlies settled into their winter quarters. Pulled out last of tomato plants, & got 1 last tomato to ripen up indoors!  got an edge round the greenhouse needs weeding bigtime but not much else to do around the garden,apart from putting in some bulbs.

Most stuff here will be left in the ground until spring. Much less to do by that time
Grandma Bodger

my Dahlias are still in flower in the past Ive usually left them till the frost has blackened them then lifted them and given them the usual treatment, What I wanted to know  could I remove them now    

Dunno - the show grower on the allotment next to me hadn't moved his at weekend but we did have a good frost Sunday so he might have done now.

Dug mine out a while back now, the flowers were looking a wee bit sad.
This was before the frosts started. Hung them in the G/H for a couple of weeks, they are now well wrapped in newspaper and stored.
This suited me to do so at the time and is down to the individual really.

...with regards to horse muck...

Pete is doing a roaring trade with the local allotments - he delivers a rather large trailer load (he's guessing there's almost two tonne in each load, puts it in trailer with the tractor bucket) and so far this week has earned 75 with three more loads to deliver in Thursday on his day off! 25 a load, I thought that was too expensive, but the allotment guys are desperate for it, and will pay for delivery rather than having to put smelly bags in cars...
They love our muck apparently, free from bedding and full of smashing worms!

We are getting a bit of a dent in the pile now, quite happy! He's also dropping off more signs to another allotment he found last week!

I'm not surprised you are so popular with the horse muck    On our allotment getting the manure to the plot is the problem (as in delivered) Most will not get their cars dirty lol and the  local stables do not have the means to deliver.


I would gladly pay 25 for a load to be dropped off at my door/garden step..

Any chance your delivering in Staffs over the next week or so

Well if you don't ask ....  

That now being bye the bye Christine...

As said on the weather topic, What a beautiful day ?
Got so much done, tree lopping, two wheelies full of leaves and general garden refuse.
Topped up a couple of Darlek type bins and filled the Pallet composter to over flowing.
Sun shining most of the day.
It was so  good to get out and finally sit down and actually see the results of your labours...

Who says you can't have a good day during winter months ?
There is always something to do in the garden....

My sorta day  

I went out to clear up my back garden yesterday, collected and shredded huge piles of leaves for composting, cleared the beds, trimmed the bushes back, cut the lawns (in December!) and then went to cut back the raspberry canes.
I ended up picking enough raspberries for dessert!

12Bore wrote:

I ended up picking enough raspberries for dessert!

Bonus payment for all your hard work...  
Grandma Bodger

sjust come in from planting two bags of Tulips cheap ones from Aldi 20 in each also a tray of winter pansies bought from the church market on and rest time now

Having been either rather ill or very busy (and sometimes both) this year I have let both our garden, and my 9 sq/mtr project slip, and over the whole of this year we have produced only about 30% of the vegetables we have eaten.

Later this week I will start my rundown for Christmas. I have been working extremely hard since we returned from India and I have trebled and almost quadrupled my usual stocking levels so that I can gain a week (of hopefully frosty days) that I may get 2 or 3 days of Pike fishing in, and bring the 9 sq/mtr project back into line, including incorporating large amounts of Horse & Donkey manure to replenish the soil. I also wish to undertake a bit of landscaping in the garden, which includes the addition of a 12 mtr x 1.2 metre high screening fence with a 1.5 mtr wide gated archway (all made from reclaimed pallet timber) complete with climbing Roses, and a roofed but open walled structure with an area of 5 mtrs X 3 mtrs X 2.5 mtrs high for undertaking projects under and out of the rain.

During the summer I became involved as an associate in a local Community share Growing & Cropping project. This project currently has approx. 7 acres under cultivation by its members, and why I have become involved will become apparent during March and April of next year.

Yesterday, I began cleaning up the garden a little from last weeks extremes in the weather. Although we are some 15 or 16 odd miles inland we did experience the gale force storm and the subsequent masses of wind blown leaves from Lionwood and litter from Pilling Park that were deposited in our garden. I also had a bonfire and burnt off an awful lot of old and dry Leylandii brash that we had cut and trimmed from our hedges over 12 months ago, and to finish off the day before settling in for an evening of reading & online backgammon, I set a couple of Sweet Potatoes so that come the late spring we will have viable slips to plant.

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