Together with the ladies in my life, I spent a much needed and soul-warming three hours at the plot this week.
Plunging a fork into the ground revealed thawed earth, and so Jan and I set about digging beds over. After the standard Christmas laziness, some spadework in the fresh air was just what the doctor ordered.
Me and Jan turned two large beds over, before Ailsa joined us in her new spade and fork earrings, and dug me a runner bean trench.
One large bed dug over.
We sat and ate lunch, and pondered the successes and failures of 2011: monster cauliflowers, successful container peas experimentation, Jan time, French bean gluts, rubbish runners, even rubbisher raspberries and puny herbs.
However, I soon moved on to next year and inspired by Aly Fowler’s list of Things to Do in 2011, which was in turn inspired by Hulaseventy’s List of Things to Do in December, I’m going to forget the resolution thing and write my own list for 2011.
1. Grow some more container peas and mangetout.
2. Fill in my GYO savings spreadsheet.
3. Clear out and spruce up my shed.
4. Grow a proper aubergine.
5. Sell my jam at the local farmers’ market.
6. Catch more bass.
7. Get a decent runner bean crop.
8. Write to-do lists and stick to them.
9. Turn the side of my house into a nice kitchen garden rather than somewhere the cat goes to take a crap.
10. Like Alys, I’m going to love my front garden a bit more, too.
11. Remember to plant the Christmas tree out this year.
12. Help my mum grow the sweet peas for my wedding.
13. Go on a mushrooming course.
14. Keep my courgettes away from my squashes so they don’t cross-pollinate.
15. Try some heritage varieties.
16. Use my airgun.
17. Gather some cockles as I used to when I was a kid.
18. Experiment with seaweed as manure.
19. Cook something tasty using nettles.
20. Look after the black aeonium that I bought from outside a house on the Isles of Scilly this summer.
21. Catch some dabs.
22. Complete a mountain bike enduro.
23. Eat at the British Larder.
24. Start making my own stock.
25. Make more home-made cakes.
26. Make Ailsa a chilli chutney that’s as good as something by the Chilli Chutney Man.
27. Get Jan to teach me to take cuttings.