Well, I did manage to pick some Brussels for xmas although they were frozen! They were on the small size but tasted great. I think that will be about my yield though. I think this is due to them being sited near the shade of the apple tree. They obviously need more sun. I'm not convinced I will bother any more as they take up too much space for little return.
I also tried to dig up some parsnips to roast but the ground was solidly frozen.
There is a benefit to freezing the soil which is that the ground expands and contracts as the water freezes and thaws. I noticed just how much the soil lifts up as the freeze sets in. This should encourage mixing of the soil and introduction of air leading to better soil condition. This picture shows how the soil surface gets broken up by the action of freezing and thawing.
The downside of course is that vulnerable plants don't survive. For example, my Cordylline is no more.
The Swiss chard looks ruined but I suspect it will pull through.
But the purple sprouting broccoli despite flopping over looks fine.
The broad beans in the greenhouse don't look good and have a lot of black stems ; I'm not very hopeful.
When it did finally warm up, I weeded and mulched the asparagus bed with the spent compost from last year's containers. I did want to do this earlier, but the compost was frozen. This is sounding familiar!
I raked up all the leaves (after the snow had thawed) and have a nice large pile for spring 2012.
One thing I could do regardless of frozen soil, was to make new compost bin out of the spare fence pailings I had. I ordered too many. The final bin is huge, but I soon filled it with the compost pile I have generated from the hedge shreddings and grass clippings. Not surprisingly, the compost was frozen!
The inside of the compost pile was amazingly dry and so not much rotting had taken place although clearly a lot of fungal growth had occurred (not clear in this picture of what was left of the compost pile after emptying it into the bin. I still have a fair amount waiting to go into bins).
And despite all this prolonged period of excess cold, I was amazed to find rhubarb leaves showing.
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