Gardening in January.

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As we are almost a week into February, it is high time to sum up what happened in the garden last month. We had a lot of rain and storms and a little bit of frost, but we still managed to get out in the garden for a few days.  The birds had finished all the seeds in the seed heads left on our perennials, so we took some time cutting them back and tidying up the flower beds. At the same time we removed a lot of weeds, like couch grass and creeping buttercup that was threatening to colonize the beds and swamp our preferred inhabitants. Here you can see our main garden circle after being tidied up.  If you are a regular reader you know we take these pictures every month, to record how the garden changes and develops over time.

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For our vegetable area we decided to try something new and put down a thick layer of barley straw all across the raised beds, to act as a weed suppressing mulch and enrich the soil for the coming growing season. When we designed our beds a couple of years back we decided to go for a no dig approach, where we only add mulches to the top and let the earthworms work their magic, moving the nutrients down into the soil. We made our beds 120 cm wide as it is possible to reach from the path either side, to plant and harvest the entire area. We made one mistake though, as we only allowed 30 cm width for each path. As a lot of crops grow big and spill out across the path area, this has proven insufficient, and this year we will have to do some moving and digging of the soil in order to recreate our food producing area in a more practical manner. We hope the straw will be beneficial for this process as well. It will be interesting to see how it all pans out in the coming growing season.

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One part of our vegetable garden is close to the house and we wanted it to be extra pretty to look at, have lots of plants for wildlife and bees in particular and be of a perennial nature. Because of this we decided to plant a lot of edible perennial flowers that we as well as the wildlife can benefit from. After a day’s work it is now planted up with newly divided daylilies, ice plants and camomile. You can read more about edible flowers in our post from last year, beautiful edible perennials.

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We also managed to cut back some trees and shrubs, admire our tree mallow that shrugged off the cold and flowered beautifully in the middle of the month and squeeze in a trip to the nursery for some new additions to our plot. It was, all in all a very happy, productive and satisfying month in the garden, despite the cold, wind and rain.

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