Before last year, I was the sort of person that neglected the garden once the courgette plants stopped producing. I struggled to find the motivation to climb the big hill to our allotment to work on soil quality - there were so many great Autumnal things to be doing instead of digging - and so I didn't.
But then I'd be full of regret when I picked up my gardening books in February and read things like "..preferably the ground will have been fertilised in the previous Autumn..". I was letting myself down and I knew it.
Having a garden at home has been great for improving my gardening habits and last Autumn, a year ago today, I started working on trying to improve the soil.
The patch I now refer to as the veggie patch was actually bad quality lawn when we moved here. I later found out that it had been a herb patch but, left neglected for a long time, grass had taken over.
I had to rotovate and dig the first year and not very much grew.
Last Autumn I added compost and dug the patch over and that definitely improved things when Spring came around.
Over the course of the year I've looked after that patch quite well, working over the soil (I ditched my big spade and started working it with hand tools), removing endless, weeds, leaves and bits of plastic and stones (where do they all come from?!) and generally trying to improve it.
When clear spaces started appearing at the end of Summer, I added my home-made compost from the previous year and now, I don't mind tooting my own horn by telling you that it looks rather wonderful and velvety!
There at lots of bare spaces at the moment - I'm planning on planting some overwintering veggies in my raised bed - and I'm also going to try experimenting with rock dust, which I only recently read about for the first time. The idea is that it nourishes depleted soil with minerals (video about rock dust here). Have you used rock dust? I'd love to hear your experiences if you have.
Now all I have to do is try and keep that pesky kitten off my patch!!