A very sharp white frost last night, the first severe frost of the year. The day overcast with a short sunny interval, & rather cold. Water in the hen’s basin frozen solid this morning. Turned it, & this evening there was still a little ice left. The dahlias blackened immediately, & I am afraid the marrows I had left to ripen are done for, as they had gone a funny colour. Brought them in & added the haulm to the compost-heap, which is now completed except for the old straw which is still in the flower garden.
Finished clearing the waste patch, piled the turf in a heap & marked out where the path is to go. This leaves another yard width of soil. Began digging this as it will do for the shallots. Collected another sack of dead leaves & sprinkled a little saltpere (advised in Smallholder) among them. Shall try & note the number of sacks collected so as to see what amount of mould they make. The turves old H. stacked earlier in the year have rotted down into beautiful fine loam, but I think I had first killed the grass on these with sodium chlorate, so presumably what I am stacking now will not rot so rapidly or completely. Put some wood-ash on the place for the broad beans. If I can’t get that bit fine I must try & find space elsewhere & simply the bad clayey patch a good liming. The broody hen goes to her nest every night. Last night she would have frozen to death if I had not happened to find her. Considerable number of goldfinches in the garden today.