A few days ago I started prepping the veg plots for spring – cutting down our Autumn fruiting raspberries, taking out runners, turning the soil over, – just forking through the detritus of autumn and winter before Spring arrives. If it arrives. I didn’t get too far with the preparations – if truth be known, I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I’m somewhat of a fair-weather gardener and vegetable grower, and it has been bitterly cold here for weeks. So not a lot has been done over the winter at all. I have done some shopping though… there’s something very satisfying about building a larder of seed packets and bulbs for the next growing season.
But despite the weather forecasters warning that this cold spell is set to continue into March, I’m trying to steel myself and get on with getting my house (or Smallest Smallholding) in order before spring arrives. Daffodil shoots and crocuses are poking through, the days are perceptibly longer, and the blackbirds are staying up in the evenings to sing – all of which gives me hope that the new season is much closer than it feels right now. I’ve had my fill of long, dark evenings. I crave the warmth of the sun on my skin, and when its out and shining, I feel revived again.
What doesn’t help matters is that the jobs that we need to get on top of before Spring are neither interesting or particularly motivating. The greenhouse needs repairing after three panels were smashed during the recent windy spell, and my greenhouse needs gutting, cleaning and organising before I start the new sowings. That is a job I would gladly pay someone else to do. We want to get a new compost heap up and running as our current one is overflowing, and then there’s the usual weeding, digging, soil conditioning. None of which I am inclined to feel like doing when my hands and feet are numb with cold (bad circulation), my hair is stuck to my face due to persistent drizzle (long hair), and my feet are clod with mud (big feet). Le sigh. Yes, winter, I’ve had enough of you. Please leave soon.
So for now, I’m starting a spring clean inside the house. Turning out clothes that have sat in my wardrobe for a couple of years untouched, getting rid of ridiculously high shoes that I can’t wear for more than 10 minutes without acute pain. In the utility room, getting rid of those tins of paint that have gone hard, rusty tools – all the bits that for some reason, we keep hold of, but never use. All that can be sent to the charity shop and recycling centre will find their way there. We try to minimise what goes to landfill.
Part of my pre-spring prep has also involved I’m also on the lookout for a small but sturdy steel or aluminium-framed polytunnel to fix in over one of the plots – but having just forked out for my self assessment tax bill, and with a payment on account looming in July, I’m having to watch the pennies very closely. So there’s no telling whether that particular plan will come into fruition this season. Let’s hope so. I’ll keep researching and let you know how it goes.