Jonathan: A wonderfully sunny, mild and calm afternoon (whilst snow and deep frost almost everywhere else in the UK), and a welcome chance to initiate the garden into 2012. Together D and I emptied the compost heap out and created temporary stockpiles in the growing beds that are in need of it (mostly for potatoes, but for other hungry crops too). 48 heavily-laden barrows of rather wet compost, so probably in the region of six to eight tonnes. If there’s one thing I find almost as satisfying as sowing seeds and harvesting, it is working with compost: it’s the earthiness, the story of the gardening year – its storms and sunshine, weeding and harvesting – that gave rise to that particular heap, and the promise of the gardening year ahead; and it’s the profound sustainability of this kind of cultivation. Indoors, gathering strength in the safety and warmth of the kitchen, a seed tray of tomato seedlings are destined for the greenhouses, nourished with compost which includes the remains of their predecessors in 2010.