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by Max Akroyd

With childcare to be done, the working days end up in two bits chez-nous: I usually take the morning shift for gardening work in the autumn and mind our three year old in the afternoons, enabling my wife to get a few hours in the studio. Today I took a gamble that the stormy weather would abate by lunchtime and, sure enough, it stormed off towards the UK like a late-night, turbulent drunk.

It was still pretty invigorating out on the field by afternoon. I planted the rest of the garlic cloves (about fifteen metres’ worth) and realised that was it for alliums for the autumn: shallots, onions and garlic all in. Very late next month I’ll sow some main crop onion seeds just to cheer me up around the shortest day, but that’s the start of the next gardening chapter really.

The Upper and Lower Beds

The Upper and Lower Beds

I planted another ten metres of broad beans in the Upper beds. Once the wonky trench is all filled (in the centre of the above photo) and planted with more of the same, that’s the legume box ticked for autumn too. Like the alliums, there’ll be a second big sowing in February – they will occupy the area presently under mulch (on the left), the mulch itself will be shuffled over to the right to block the weeds in between the rows and preserve the moisture of the soil. Then, in May, the mulch will come up again and the clear soil underneath trenched again, probably to receive French beans thereafter. That’s the method in my madness. So far, so good: there’s emerald bean sprouts poking up everywhere…

The only other thing to be done, on a still very blustery afternoon, was strimming: the start of the off-season maintenance program. That sounds a bit grand, but there you are.