We had a run of snow recently - a stark reminder that we are very definitely in winter!
It's tricky to satisfy the urge to grow food when the temperatures drop, but it's still possible and certainly there are preparations for the coming season that can be made.
This bed required a little TLC. I've been pulling out tenacious nettle roots, docks and dandelions, which is all the more satisfying knowing that the cold will keep them at bay for a while yet! I don't dig if I can avoid it, partly because it wrecks the structure of the soil but also because it's too much like hard work! It's really not necessary and I like an easy life. But a hand fork to loosen the roots from the top few inches is fine.
The surface I covered with a thin layer of compost. It'll provide a feed for the soil and give next year's seeds a head start and increase the crop yields. The worms will do the hard work of incorporating it into the bed; no effort by me required!
And over all of this, there is a double layer of membrane. I don't like using plastic as much as I can avoid it, but I've not really found an alternative for this. The dark colour prevents weeds from growing back, locks in moisture and when the sun eventually comes back out to play, it'll absorb its heat and warm the soil quickly. Flattened, used compost bags will do the trick over small areas too. This membrane will be reused several seasons though.
And to plant in the bare spaces? Garlic! Three rows of shop-bought cloves, pushed around an inch under the soil, pointed tip up, and covered over. The cold of winter will cause the developing bulb to split and by late spring, they should be ready to harvest. These ones will head to a school kitchen, around 20m from plot to table. As local, as low carbon as can be!
Treading Lightly is simple living, within your means and the means of the planet, and making a minimal impact on the Earth. Find out more here about Catherine, of Barefoot Solutions, does this from day to day.