Croftless Crofter: Nic Goddard

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It’s a quiet time in the garden and the temptation when there is nothing requiring urgent weeding or watering attention is to ignore the vegetable patch and do no more than idly browse a seed catalogue instead of spending time outside.

Not only is getting outside on a dry day good for me in terms of fresh air and exercise, there is always something I could be doing even in this relatively dormant period.

Pruning the fruit bushes is definitely a winter task and although I only have a small number of trees and bushes they will certainly benefit from some attention.

I’ve been gathering seaweed from the beach and spreading that on my raised beds. This
suppresses any weeds which may be considering taking over the soil now that it is bare from crops after I pulled out the final harvest of pumpkins.

As well as putting nutrients and adding organic matter to the soil it will also provide a bit of blanket to help the soil warm up that bit quicker in the spring when it finally comes.

A general tidy up of anything which has blown around the plot, gathering up and washing out of any pots and containers and checking on the progress of the spring bulbs which we planted a few months ago and are already peeking tiny green shoots through the soil helps to remind me that it won’t be long before I am back juggling things about to make room for the inevitable over sowing of tomato seeds resulting in far too many tiny plants to either sacrifice or give away to friends.

While I’m outside the hopeful glances from the friendly robin remind me to top up the bird table and feeders which the pine marten has emptied once more.

I am rewarded for my efforts by a visit from the woodpecker to the table once I have come back inside.

The view of the plot which is often a bit scruffy this time of year is improved and I know I have earned my cup of tea and, having done an inventory of leftover and saved seeds from last year, I can get back to that catalogue and start planning the growing season for the year ahead.