A lot of people hate winter. I am not a fan of the mud and sludge, but winter is NECESSARY for a farm in this latitude. Tough titties. I need the cold to reset the micro flora and fauna, to kill pests and control fungus, and to replenish the water tables.
The garden beds in the formal gardens (bottom right) have swales (buried grottos made of rotting wood and brush) that hold a lot of water in reserve during hot summer months. The cold freezes the soil atop the swale and locks that water in there.
The potager garden beds in the west of Mezzacello (bottom left) are a combination of lasagna gardens, hugel kultur and swales. learn more about Hugel Kultur here and lasagna gardens here. The water table needs refilled here too. The winter oxidizes the lasagna beds and compressed compost needs to be amended so the next years’ five layers can top it all in February with the water in the lasagna swale and hugel kultur making the garden beds so much healthier than just Central Ohio clay soil.
The center gardens (which are now the herb potager gardens) do not yet have swales installed. The boxwood parterres will help hold water. The center triangles will get modified swales and lasagna bases this spring. The water also replenishes and refreshes the the pond ecosystem.
Winter is our friend. She’s a difficult one for sure. We need her cold, her wet, her dim light. Nature gives her world a break. So I am too. Housework over the winter. Cheers.