Back to Bed 9 and the first job was to lay the cardboard. It was a pretty good fit and I covered the cracks with newspaper. The poppy by the post is being left to take its chance. 3 sacks of manure went into this bed to make a reasonable layer. The bags are all reliable quality so far.

We added a thin layer of leaf mould on top. There is by no means enough for all the beds as I had originally planned, so I’m being a little more circumspect with it now. We’ve emptied the last bit into a plastic sack for easy access. The bottom of it is particularly good stuff. We’ve refilled the bin with a sack or two of the 2021 leaves. I should have mowed them first, but never got around to it. Must do that this year.

The new suet coconut was ridiculously diminished when I came back after lunch. Maybe the crows had been in, but a tit had been on it when we left in the morning and I saw the robin and a great tit on it after lunch. I was surrounded by birds: the robins, a blackbird, the tit, a goldfinch…

I saw the robins on the fenceposts across the plot, with one doing a courtship dance of bobbing, head up and tail up. I’ve read that during courtship the female is allowed into the male’s territory, which suggests that the bold one is the male.

Bed 9 has grown and so is being left open until we cut new plastic. I was a little concerned that the birds would immediately kick my leaf mould around, but it looks like the cardboard base perhaps deters them from being too vigorous.

I made a big start on Bed 11, edging more than half with cardboard and evening out the earth. I’ve bagged up lots more clay, taking it from the compost heap. There’s more to go, but I have nowhere easy to put it now. I’ll use this homemade compost as at least some of the leaf mould layer. I’ll deal with the other end of the bed when this first part is done.