Having been down only occasionally over Christmas (for obvious reasons) I felt I needed to start on some of the winter tasks that were pending.
I arrived with the usual bin of kitchen waste but also the haulms from the sweet peas that grew so well in my garden in 2015. The three sacks full of brown stalks will do much to balance the green material such as grass cuttings that currently dominate the additions to the bin.
I then set about digging over the paths beside the raspberry rows. Raspberries send out roots far and wide and then send up shoots well away from the plants. Despite mulching the paths either side of the row with pine needles (the only way I can use these donated sacks from a neighbour) the shoot come up all over the place.
My strategy for controlling them is to periodically dig up the path and extract all the roots I can, so after scraping away the mulch I cut a slot with the spade all the way down the side of the row about 6" - 12" away and then dig the path from one end to the other removing any roots/shoots I find. On this occasion I also cut a slot with the spade down the outside of the path to prevent me digging up the leeks that are growing beside the path.
About halfway down the path I took a break and went to fix the rest of my greenhouse frame down, drilling into the blocks and using 'Hammerfix' screws with a washer to finish the job. I only used about half the holes provided in the frame as the weight of the glass will do most of the job of holding the structure down.
I then finished digging the raspberry path. One side done; three more to go, and a heap of roots to dispose of. They need burning or sending to the tip as they grow so strongly the compost bin would be filled with growing raspberry plants. The bits of bindweed root go in the water-filled bucket in the middle of the photo to rot down and some of the raspberry roots can be seen next to it.
It is impossible to eliminate rats and mice so we must learn to live with them and deal with them only where they cause problems. That said I shall work to avoid them by good husbandry whenever possible.
Afterwards I took several general photos of the plot to keep (for records) to help me remember the plot at the end of this year.