So let us continue with Andrew's interview ;)
Usually at this time of year we would both be working our biceps into big powerful 'guns' by doing the soil preparation. When he was there last weekend the soil was absolutely soaking and utterly unworkable in the areas that needed improvement, plus he was too ill to be getting into the heavy work anyway. But you aren't, right? I hope not anyway! So I suggest you get out there and dig, dig, dig, adding in glorious compost and poo and maybe some seaweed if you can get your hands on it. That is what we would love to be doing right now.
He did however tend to the compost trinity ;) Here are photos to prove it! The most rotted one is great sounding and Andrew turned it and added he own special improver to it (secret recipe), so we have half a big bin full and ready to go once we can get ourselves down to work.
The middle bin is decomposting really well and is already half full too and the third bin was filled up to the brim. Composting makes me happy - who on Earth would ever think I would say that! It's true though, I love compost and manure and seaweed more than the average person walking down the street. It's free and it makes everything on the plots so much happier, plus I don't actually do the turning so I never have to smell it whilst it's rotting only after when it just smells good and earthy, hahaha. I do muck in with the manure and seaweed gathering though - much to my shame I have had to go to Tesco afterwards stinking to high heaven!
Even great compost can't guarantee great crops though. I had to ask the question, 'what didn't do so well this year?' And it hurts but you just can't fight everything. This year in particular we suffered under the Leather Jacket - oh how I HATE them. We lost all our asparagus plants to the blighters and they were our 'special treat' crop, you know, the one you grow because you love it so much but just don't want to pay the extortionate prices for it in the shops?? Really once you get Leather Jackets in your soil, say goodbye to all the little friendly worms and your crops. Grrrrr. That whole bed is going to be ripped apart and started afresh.
We also had carrot failure this year for the first time. That has really made me sad as I love carrots and it has become a fun little ritual to go to the lottie on Christmas Eve and get lots of them and some parsnips etc for the Christmas dinners. I think it was simply the horrible weather this year, we have just had rain dumped on us all summer and autumn and the ground never really has a chance to dry out so they all rotted.
Lastly, we failed our fruit bushes and trees, they fell foul to pests and disease yes but we also didn't do enough to help them. We only tried the nematodes once or twice and didn't even cover them up with netting etc. A lot of out fruit went straight into the mouths of the birds because we simply didn't have the time to get to the plot and collect things. Shame on us, really. I have been punished enough though, not a single blueberry was eaten by me this year and the bushes were so heavy with unripe fruit every time I saw them.....next year!