The wettest winter on record has been an inauspicious start to our activity at the garden. With a completely blank canvas to work on, there is everything to do, and heavy, waterlogged soil has made almost everything impossible. We took advantage of the only two good days in January to receive our first delivery of compost, and used it to form our first eight beds.

We are following Charles Dowding’s method of no dig gardening right from the start, and so a good eight inches of compost on top of the grass should kill the weeds and leave us with deep, rich, weed free beds for planting this spring.

We have also staked out the orchard area, ready for planting when the soil dries a little. There will be thirty trees in all, a mix of apple, pear, plum, cherry, damson and mulberry. Three second hand fruit cages have been found, and should shelter our currants, gooseberries, loganberries and strawberries from the attack of the birds when they are fruiting.