Short days are upon us where work outside finishes by half past four. The energy of growth has left the plants as their energy has been spent in seed production, or concentrates again at their cores. You could say that plants become more radical at this time of year – the etymology of this word meaning pertaining to the roots.
So, it has all slowed down and so our focus can change. We have been ‘putting beds to bed’ for the winter so that we can find them again in perfect planting condition come spring. This involves weeding, adding compost/lime/wood ash as needs be, and covering with a thick layer of mulch of some description. Over the winter the added ingredients get taken into the soil and integrated, and the mulch prevents weed growth, prevents erosion and any damage from harsh winter weather.
Our work over the next few months will include converting our field scale production area into an alley cropping system where rows of trees giving harvests of fruits, nuts and timber are planted in between the annual crops. This system has many advantageous beneficial relationships in it.
We will have rejigged the medicine garden come springtime and have sown or planted all the herbs that we wish to cultivate (which we don’t have or don’t have enough of already) in order to be producing a range of our own products with medicinal and health-giving properties, in line with our needs here. This will include producing a range of our own herbal tea blends, medicinal balms for skin complaints and tired hands, tinctures and herbs for culinary use (still medicinal!)
Winter also offers an opportunity to be working on maintenance and building projects whilst the growing forces are slow. This winter we will pave a beautiful path to the centre of the garden with recycled bricks, linking it with the gardener’s bothy (shed, office, seed drying sanctuary), the pizza ovens and the Linhay. No more unnavigable mud!
Blessings on the dark times and blessings on the light. May they both be welcome.