Winter of content labour (27 weeks to go…)

by Max Akroyd

After spending most of this month dodging downpours and light frost, the wind has now turned to the east. Whereas the west wind smells of the sea and possibility, that old east wind smells of nothing at all and submission to winter’s decree is now just a matter of time. The layering of jobs just has to change accordingly.

On our south-facing slope the grip of even the frostiest morning usually lets go by afternoon, so digging – the season’s no. 1 task- is usually a pm possibility. Before weeding becomes the be-all and end-all in March, the order of priority accommodation-wise is as follows (bullet point alert):

  • Overwintering broad beans (Done rows totalling 40 metres- but I might add to them next month)
  • Overwintering peas (Done 48 metres)
  • Shallots (Done maybe 24 metres, might do more)
  • Garlic (Beds ready – sowing this week – about 30 metres)
  • Overwintering onions (Beds mostly ready – sowing next week – about 40 metres)
  • Potatoes (Pigs have weeded the appointed area – 100 metres+ of trenches still to dig! December?)
  • February sown broad beans, onions (Beds to prepare in January)
  • February planted out brassicas (ahem – not even sown yet!)

That’s about as far as I can see from here. What to do with those frost-bound mornings? Well, working inside fits the the bill nicely! I’m going to convert the spare space in our hangar into a poultry and fowl emporium. More on this when I can afford the chicken wire. Don’t hold your breath, it’s 100€ a roll these days! Although I’m sure we’ll be paying that much for an egg next year…

There’s also a heap of cellulose-heavy salady things to plant out from the greenhouse into the poytunnel. Once the decks are finally cleared of last season’s efforts, and to fill the gap between January’s onion, cabbage and tomato sowing, I thought I’d have a crack at starting bulbous chervil, burdock and some other odd stuff under cover.

If I get all of the above done by the 1st February 2011 I’ll be very happy momentarily – and then get digging a celery trench, or something.