Well here we go again with another year to start again on the allotment and another opportunity to get it right! After a relatively quiet period running up to Christmas it won’t be long before the days start getting longer and we will be preparing the beds ready for the first plantings. I can’t wait! It is always a time of year for taking stock of what we did last year and what worked and didn’t work. I’ve been really pleased with the winter veg as always but I think I’m going to go back to good old green curly kale next year as the red variety we tried this year looks great but is really tough. I’m going to see if I can find a cure for white fly though as it really does get attacked every year and I’m sure it does nothing to help the quality. Brussel sprouts are still my favourite and they are so easy to grow. I walked up early on Christmas morning and just like Santa delivered freshly picked sprouts to friends and relatives, leaving them on the doorstep. They will definitely be getting space next year. As you know if you have read my blog I am definitely not going to be planting any radicchio but one veg I thought I might try to take it’s place in the scheme is salsify. I watched my dear friend Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall cook with it the other day and he raved about it so here goes. I grew sweetcorn for popping this year for the first time. The heads were multi coloured and looked fantastic but I didn’t take the outer leaves off before I dried them out and they seemed to go mouldy inside so I’ll give them another go next year and see if I can actually pop my own corn. I have a spreadsheet which I use to plot out the veggies and make sure I get my rotation right so I will be digging that out again as I peruse the catalogues that have already hit the doormat. The chickens are doing really well after their moult and we are getting two to three eggs on most days which is great. Blue in the picture who nearly lost every feather this year is looking fluffy and beautiful again now and has started laying again. Natasha seems to be the only one who isn’t laying but hopefully she will start again in the spring. They have managed to put on a good bit of weight to so they should see it through any chilly weather that might be on it’s way, though at the moment it’s just dealing with soggy feathers with all the rain. We seem to be increasing the cat population as they migrate from the farm down the road to the more luxurious surroundings of the allotments with food, friends and a bed. Bob is still around and getting a little friendlier but we also seem to have another female around who looks just like Lottie but has a softer coloured face. I only really get to see their eyes shining in the torch light but occassionally they are at the gate in the morning when I pull up in the car. I wonder if we will see any kittens in the spring time?