Thursday, 15 October 2009
Preparing for winter
As the nights grow longer and winter approaches, this is a good time to plan your garden for next year – clear out the old plants, order seed and map our the property. When you plan your property, think in three dimensions, using not just fields or garden beds, but hedgerows and woods.
We have a small copse of trees in the back of our property, and while it is no bigger than an average back garden, it has room for hazel trees that produce nuts this time of year. We planted blueberries and other shade-loving plants under the hazels, so they too can produce food, and we will have sorrel, radishes and other ground crops lower still.
You might want to check into polytunnels – greenhouses of sheeted plastic – and consider whether one might be useful for you. If you are to get one, best to put it up before it gets too dark and rainy, and so you can use it over the winter.
This is also a good time to start thinking about keeping animals like chickens, rabbits and bees, and whether you could keep them on your property. Many people find spring the best time to get new animals, so best to start planning their new environment now.
You might be unpacking all the winter clothes around now, but this is also a good time to start buying extra blankets and old clothes from the charity shops and boot sales, in case you need them. Those blankets and old clothes are not only good for people, but for home insulation as well.
Talk to some neighbours about meeting at each others’ houses for dinner once a month or so. As people become busier each year, they have less and less time for the basic socializing out of which a community is built. Consider volunteering for a charity or neighbourhood group during the winter, when you have less chance to be outdoors.
Spend as much time outdoors as possible while there is still some sunlight in Ireland – we all need Vitamin D, which we synthesize from the sun, and there is too little of it here for much of the year.
Photo: The road in front of our land.