I got the NW bed more or less level this today. That's where the spuds are going: because it's ready, and they go in first, the 1st earlies could go in now, theoretically. But I'm working to get started with them on St Patrick's day, and get the main crop in by Easter. The soil in there is patchy: heavy clay alongside leaf-mold heavy stuff from the old fruit bush bed, but we'll just have to see how it goes, and it'll all get blended in eventually.
That old fruit bush area isn't as intimidating as I'd feared, the Libyan hoe soon cuts through it. A few hours work should see it hacked out and the whole NE bed, the pond-side bed, level and ready to go. On the downside, an area of several square yards has gotten pretty compacted where I've been standing on it to fill the barrow for levelling. On the plus side, that compacted area is going to get several inches of that good leaf-mold earth from the fruit bush area.
And speaking of the fruit bushes. They were all heaped up at the bottom of the NW bed. I went through them all on Sunday, discarding any that showed no signs of life, and appeared to be drying out. That left 50+ which appear to be quickening, with bud growing, and I'm keen to get them planted.
Between Sunday and this afternoon I've got nearly 30-something of them planted along the N boundary, and have started planting the rest along the NW boundary. I'm leaving about 15 ins between them and the fences, where I'll plant more hedge plants later: I want the fruit at the front, to get at the crop. I've planted them about 9ins apart, though, so their main job is to be part of a hedge, with fruit as a bonus.
One day I might take cuttings and grow a few of each type of fruit in the text book way, with high yields, we shall see. As far as I noticed when they were going wild and forming a jungle with all the nettles down the Eastern boundary, there are blackcurrants, redcurrants, gooseberries and raspberries. I'm hoping the shock of getting cut down to the quick, and uprooted, will invigorate them. I feel responsible. The Predecessor let them go wild at the end, but had taken care of them for decades before that, and it's up to me to look after them now.
I'm sitting here at home in the evening now, looking at Jupiter rising in the East.