Back when I had a proper job, I always tried to schedule meetings for the afternoon as I’d long learned I never did anything productive between 2pm and 4 so I might as well go and have a nice chat with other people and eat biscuits until my brain woke up again around tea time. Now that I work my own hours, it means I can justify getting out into the garden on a winter afternoon and tackle one of the many jobs that are piling up out there.
Currently top of the list is preparing the ground for the veg beds. I’ve been swithering over whether to build raised beds, dig in manure, or go for a no-dig approach (it doesn’t help that the last three editions of Gardeners’ Question Time have had three different suggestions) but with our Christmas holiday looming, we’ve reached the stage where (in the words of a wise former colleague of mine) it’s better to take a wrong decision than no decision. In the end, the first two approaches involved too much hard work, so with time running out I’ve decided to attempt the no-dig approach.
So I spent this afternoon scavenging various bits of carpet from the attic and garage where the previous owners had stashed them and laying out where the plot will be.
Then it was just a matter of putting down the last few month’s worth of newspapers and my friend’s housewarming gift (and I can’t really think of anything more appropriate to do with what amounts to several hundred photos of Donald Trump than covering them in horse manure), followed by the contents of the compost dalek – which was wonderfully good stuff – and a pile of coarser weeds hacked down in our attempt to clear around the old chicken shed. Meanwhile, the weather gods were doing their bit by steadily drizzling so that everything was nice and damped down. The plan was to add the rest of the pile of stuff that has accumulated from cutting the grass and clearing the weeds, but winter afternoons are short and I ran out of time. As it was, I ended up putting the last bits of carpet on in the dark.
Ideally, I would have done this back in July when we first got the keys to the house, to give everything several months to rot down and to weaken all the perennial weeds, but if nothing else, I will have added several barrowloads of organic matter to the soil, and at least made the grass and buttercups a bit easier to deal with in the spring.
So now all that remains for me to do is to wait, and let the worms and other creatures do their work, and hope I’ve weighed everything down well enough that the carpet will still be in place come spring.