One of my favourite things about gardening, particularly in the kitchen garden, is the blank canvas that presents itself at the start of every year. Last year's successes and failures are all behind us and we have an opportunity to changes things that haven't worked or learnt from previous good practise. 

GeopodThat journey has started and we have sown the first of this year's seeds in the heated propagator in the greenhouse. We are sowing aubergines, chillies, cabbages, broccoli and leeks. Our propagator has a built in grow light on a timer to extend the daylight hours for our seedlings. It won't be long before a sea of green appears and the new growing season will finally begin.

The propagator is full to bursting with tray after tray of seeds and seedlings, nestled in the warm under a growlight. Not much more for us to do in the greenhouse at the moment, other than watch and wait. 

Outside, we will be cutting the autumn raspberry canes down to the ground ready for the new growth to emerge. They will then be given a generous mulch of well rotted manure, along with the summer raspberries and the rhubarb and asparagus crowns.

Like most of the country, we have suffered a some very cold, windy and wet weather. We were spared the worst of the snow, but still had a good dusting. Consequently, the soil is currently saturated and in no condition to be worked or walked upon. I am hoping for drying winds to rectify this as I really want to dig the trench for our climbing beans. Now is the ideal time to do this and begin filling the trench with household composting waste and well-rotted manure. Bean plants are hungry feeders and love the goodness and nutrients provided by the rotting waste.

Our manure supplies have dwindled and we still have a lot of soil that will need a good dose of something to beef it up ready for the coming growing season. We will be contacting a local farmer to arrange a further delivery of well-rotted farmyard muck. We are very lucky to be in the close vicinity of farmers who can supply this, but in the absence of this type of arrangement, farmyard manure can be brought in bags from garden centres. Otherwise, home-made compost can make a good substitute.

Can’t wait for the Spring….