December Garden

The vegetable garden has been left to itself for most of the last month. The continuing rain and wind made it unpleasant and difficult to work. In the drier and sunnier spells most of our time was spent tidying up, cleaning pots, collecting leaves for leaf-mould, storing away equipment for the winter and shredding the last of the beanstalks and raspberry canes for the compost heap. The late fruiting raspberry canes yielded their last small pickings on 5th December - slightly frozen fruits direct from the plant, still tasted good. 

The broad bean and pea seedlings, both those in the greenhouse and those outdoors but under a cloche, are doing well so I'm optimistic for an early crop. Last year they were ready to harvest starting in April. The winter gem lettuce are developing slowly. This time last year the first batch were ready to eat but this year they only have four to six leaves so probably best not to rely on them for Christmas tea. On the other hand the parsnips about which I was so doubtful earlier in the year should do us proud, unlike the celeriac which still have almost no crowns. I'm not sure what went wrong as the ground was moist and well fertilised. We are slowly eating our way through the curly kale and about to start on the winter cabbages.  

Hedges still need to be trimmed and some fruit trees pruned. The weather interrupted my preparation of the beds for next year just after I discovered an old heap of well rotted horse manure from years ago which had become overgrown with nettles, so I will have plenty to dig in when the weather improves. 

The challenge for next spring is to find somewhere to plant the potatoes.  I might have to resort to using bags.