With the festive season beginning, now is the time to start planning and preparing for next year. This year has seen all of the weather extremes, but this gave a bumper crop of fruit, especially apples for us to enjoy in pies and crumbles! While a farmers work is never done, t’is the season to be jolly and slow down to appreciate the fruits of their labours.
- Trees and shrubs: planting may continue during mild periods, but otherwise heel in the young plants. Carry on taking hardwood cuttings. Cut back over-hanging branches. Shake of any heavy snowfall to prevent breaking under the weight.
- Roses: continue planting during mild weather.
- Fruit: continue pruning if not frosty. Finish tying in new growths of blackberry and loganberry. New trees may be planted during mild spells.
- Vegetables: in the north, lift turnips and swedes to store. Prepare next year’s site for runner beans and mark with pegs. Lift rhubarb and chicory for forcing. Check that bulbous plants, like onions, have adequate protection.
- Prepare sites for spring seeding during mild spells.
- Aerate poorly drained lawns with a hollow tined fork.
Farm Animal Care
- General: continue feeding livestock.
- Marsh samphire: a succulent, crunchy stem which is best thoroughly washed, boiled for a couple of minutes and served in butter.
- Seabeet: it looks like spinach and tastes like it too, but sweeter and without a bitter aftertaste.