Half Term holiday has arrived in Wiltshire – though not in most of the rest of the country. Mrs G and the two children are ready for their break: but it does mean a change in routine for us all. As often happens, the weather is against us too, so days out may be hard to do when it’s cold and grey – not the kind of weather to encourage trips to the zoo and such.
Out in the garden yesterday morning I started clearing away a mass of material that had accumulated between the two garden sheds. There were lots of offcuts of laminated flooring from the nursery, all of which had been stacked ‘in case they might come in handy’ (and of course they haven’t): into the recycling with them. However, under and around these, and some bags of sharp sand (which might yet ‘come in handy’), was a lovely thick layer of leaf mould. Leaves from the mature trees which overhang the bottom of the garden fall in profusion on this area each autumn, and it must be four years since I cleared between the sheds. So the resulting leaf mould is lovely, rich and crumbly stuff: an unexpected bonus, which I have dug out, bagged up and will use as a mulch over the next few weeks.
The sheds themselves, though, are looking a bit the worse for wear. Some remedial work is needed to patch up and keep them waterproof. The past six months’ rain has clearly affected their roofs, which need to be repaired inside and out. We inherited the two sheds when we moved here nearly 17 years ago, and they have served well – one is a ‘garden’ shed for my tools and garden supplies; the other is for bikes, barbecues and other (mostly summer) stuff.
My ambition is to take both down and replace them with a single larger outbuilding, which would give more space, better storage, and look nicer. But that remains just a plan for the moment…
I took a trip up to the allotment too, in the midst of a quite unexpected fall of snow. Everything is alright up there, and looked lovely as the huge soft flakes drifted down. We had a shed break-in (along with four others) a couple of weeks ago – but nothing was taken, and the shed was not even damaged: not sure how they even got in – so we got off lightly there.
Rhubarb is starting to show, as is some Fennel. Buckler-leaved Sorrel – a lovely, lemony/vinegary-tasting salad leaf – is pushing up too. But there are no over-wintering vegetables, as last season was such a wash-out. One complete failure is a bed I sowed with a mixed green manure last autumn – there is nothing to show for it at all. Presumably the conditions were too wet and gloomy for it to germinate.
Sadly Couch Grass has made an aggressive comeback, so my first job next visit is to get that rooted out of the raised beds. If I get them cleared early, I will have time to manure them and cover them with plastic – which I might even leave and plant through with larger crops that don’t need direct sowing. Lots for a bonfire lying around too, so that will be pleasurable on a chilly day – nothing like a bonfire!
The snow didn’t settle though, and by teatime we were back to grey drizzle again. Let’s hope it bucks up a bit, for the rest of the family’s sake.