I like to give myself and the garden a bit of a break in winter so I tend to grow a modest crop. Instead the focus for me is on replenishing the soil with nitrogen. For that reason peas and broadbeans are sown. Once these are harvested I will cut the haulm (stems) of peas and broadbeans at the ground to ensure that the nitrogen rich roots remain to feed the next green crop. I will follow this harvest with a sowing of brassicas, Bok Choy, cicory, beetroot, carrots and herbs such as coriander and dill. In the meanwhile I am pruning. I am learning and checking my reference books to keep myself on track. My favourite books being Peter Cundall’s The Practical Australian Gardener, Louis Glowinski, The Complete Book of Fruit Growing in Australia and the Diggers Club books, such as The Australian Fruit and Vegetable Garden. Peter Cundall’s book has been a real favourite because it reads a bit like a story, with each chapter represented by each month. It helped me enormously to work out what to do and when to do it. It sort of held my hand and said “and now it is April, it’s time to start thinking about this and that ….” and that was great. Thanks heaps Peter! In fact books have an enormous capacity to fill that mentor gap when a real life mentor is not around. I wish there was a mentor school where you could subscribe and receive a mentor of your choice, a gardening mentor please and photography too, …of course Universities and other Educational Institutions take that role, as well as shows like Gardening Australia and so on and of course now Utube and blogs…. but there is nothing quite like, the informal friendship and practical nature of a mentor friend or family member, someone older wiser, highly experienced and enthusiastic to share tea and talk with. In their absence then books like Peter’s and photography books like those written by Scott Kelby have held my hand.