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This is the time of year when despite our recent obsession with all things solar, we need to get outside and start to prepare for the year ahead.  All the the veg beds that don’t have anything in them need dressing with manure – both outside, and in the polytunnels. Lots of cardboard and straw mulch needs applied to the bigger growing areas to kill off weeds that we didn’t get to at the end of last season, before we manure them. Garlic, onions and leeks are already putting on growth, and we still have some sprouts outside, but not a vast amount else. Something else that we can do easily at this time of year is find all our young trees, and identify areas where they haven’t done well, allowing us to interplant some new ones. Thankfully most are thriving.

Our polytunnels have taken rather a beating this winter, and the doors at both ends of the big one need new plastic, though the covers themselves are intact and need only a good clean in the spring. A sheet attached to the centre of a rope should do the trick, pulled back and forth over the tunnel.

One of our favourite jobs for winter is starting to book WWOOF volunteers in for the year ahead, as new enquiries begin to arrive. Figuring out who we like the sound of is a dark art, and involves an arcane, and somewhat random procedure based mostly on guesswork, but it has worked so far, and we have high hopes for 2015.

Anyone who thought our 2014 sounded busy will get a shock when they find out what needs to be done in 2015. This winter we have nearly managed to get our energy needs sorted, and the coming year has a lot of infrastructure work in it, as we try to complete our buildings, finish the cottage, tidy up the garden, and improve our food yields. Plus a list of other jobs as long as your arm that we will try and tackle at the same time. Exciting times.

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