The garden has been steadily winding down since September and the work I’ve mostly been doing up until now has been general last maintenance and tidying up.
This includes clearing the last of the vegetable crops out of the ground and collecting the fallen leaves and putting them in to a pile to make compost.
In short, I’ve been putting the garden to bed for the winter.
The idea was to have all these kind of jobs done and dusted by the festive season break, to make the time spent relaxing at home with my family and my own personal winter shutdown even more enjoyable.
There’s something psychologically nice about this too, knowing when I do return to the garden work in the next few days, it’s all about going into the new year looking forward with excitement.
Everything I do from now is all about the gardening year ahead.
Before I get out there though, tackling the winter jobs with extra vigour to burn off that extra layer added to my stomach over the last couple of weeks, I always like to look back on the past year.
What went right, what went wrong? What’s worth doing again and what’s best forgotten about?
Once I’ve completed this assessment I can add in to my plans of new things that I’d like to be doing, then it’s time to get going!
The one thing I really wanted to do more of in 2021 was to grow more of my own veg for the family.
There really is a taste difference when growing your own mostly down to the many different varieties you can grow for each crop and I’d certainly recommend going for it if you’ve been considering it.
The no-dig method
I’ve managed to achieve this and also by doing so using the no-dig method which I’m feeling is a brilliant method for growing veg.
It’s also ideal if you only have a certain amount of spare time to spend in the garden.
On the whole I’m pleased with how things went but I will tweak just what I’m growing and the quantities of them too.
In hindsight growing the amount of onions I did wasn’t a success, I don’t have the biggest plot at home and the time they spent in the ground meant they just took up too much space.
Less onions will give me more room for the crops that I do eat more of.
In the same part of the garden I’m looking forward to seeing how well the soft fruit I started growing in containers last year will fair in the summer months ahead.
The promising soft fruit
In their first year in pots, plants of blueberries, blackcurrant, strawberry, gooseberry and raspberry have all settled in well and put on good growth.
Those new shoots this year will be hanging with fruits and the early signs are we don’t need masses of space for a mini orchard at home.
That’s of course if I can actually get to them before the wild animals that roam my garden do.
No, not the lovely and gentle garden birds, but my two children!
Every time they’re out in the garden walking past the collection of pots outside my glasshouse they just cant stop helping themselves to the juicy fruits – but that’s certainly a nice problem to have.
My no-mow lawn, or wild garden
In the front garden I have my no-mow lawn, it could also be known as my wild garden as it’s a place where I let the grass grow free.
It’s not just abandoned, I do this in a managed way having it divided into sections by a mown path and the areas within planted with bulbs and wildflowers.
This way, it provides garden interest for me and at the same time giving food and shelter for the likes of moths, crickets and other wildlife that will benefit my garden.
I can’t say the same for the spot at the bottom of my garden that does feel abandoned and looks it too!
Trying for a woodland garden
Nature did start to reclaim this area after a large sycamore tree came down.
I’ve been trying to tame it as it feels the ideal spot for me to have a wee woodland garden featuring plants like Himalayan blue-poppies, drifts of Primula and wonderful Trilliums.
Looks like there’s a lesson to be learned for me here and us all and that is just to be careful how much we take on in the garden.
Don’t take on too much
I love seeing a garden revelling at its full potential, giving us so much joy and satisfaction in return – but it’s ok to admit when it’s time to slow down.
It’s better to have a more manageable garden looking amazing than trying too much at once.
Looks like for me it will be a year ahead of consolidating what I already have in the garden.
The direction in which we are going with the pandemic is not how we wanted to start 2022, but I’m so thankful that I’ve got so much to look forward to in the garden.