I’ve used the last days of this year in preparation for the new growing year by creating, or rather renovating a keyhole bed. I have spoken extensively about keyhole beds on my previous blog, when I created one for friends in Bulgaria. You can read all about it here.
Keyhole beds are a great space saving design, giving you access both from the inside and the outside without the need to step on the bed itself. I had created the bed a couple of years ago, but the stones we used as a border were too low, so disappeared in the undergrowth every year. Also the soil was very thin on this part of the garden. We have added an inch of topsoil so far, but that is just sitting an very stony subsoil, so we needed to increase the top soil too.
So after finding larger stones and logs as border and getting rid of most of the perennial weeds I topped up the soil with 2 layers of organic matter: first leaf mould from my hazel and hawthorn hedges topped with some well rotted straw which we seasoned with urine and wood ash and used for some strawbale gardening last season. The chickens were helping by rummaging through it, picking out bugs and weed seeds and manuring the lot a bit more.
The whole thing is located just outside my kitchen door, so is effectively within my zone 1. It is now ready for sowing a variety of salad crops in spring.
Wishing you all a happy and productive New Year.