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by Max Akroyd

What with the wind and the rain limbering up like two pumped-up pagan pugilists for another big showdown tomorrow, I thought it would be a good idea to get the overwintering onions in before the soil gets another drenching. Not that it was much less than soggy today: so I gave the designated bed the lightest of rakings just to level things off a bit. Although not a heavy clay, my soil has enough of the sticky stuff inside to resent a wet season beating up. It shows its disgust by forming a shiny, impermeable crust – or ‘pan’ – on it’s surface, something that the planting of onions in autumn can easily invoke.

I planted about two hundred sets in all. The two dozen remaining in the box were so tiddly as to require bringing on in modules to be worth bothering with. Sowing onion sets, in repeating patterns like a five on a dice, is the kind of geometric, slightly mesmerising garden work which I can still see now if I close my eyes…

Still in the name of defined progress I completed digging the trenches for the autumn broad beans. Adjacent areas under plastic mulch will be unveiled in February for a spring sowing but their preparation can wait until next month. I can’t lay my azada to rest for this month though as I’ve got the strawberry beds to complete and the potato trenches to resume.