The first thing we need to do is lay plans – what are we planting, and when does it need to be planted?
The indications I’m finding thus far are that winter crops weren’t much done in Western Europe in the Medieval Era. This is in part due to some interesting climate features – there was a Medieval Warm Period, which ran up to about the 15th century, depending on your strict definitions, and then the Little Ice Age, which stretches up to about 1850. The effect here is that the later period material – as in, when we have more sources – presupposes a climate that’s rather colder than our modern one.
So the first plantings will be in springtime. We can simulate a lifetime of careful attention to last frost dates by looking at actual records, and given that last year had a nice warm period in the spring followed by a couple of frosts, we’ll probably be tricked by the weather regardless.
Working backwards, this means that we now need to dig over the beds, and get whatever fertiliser we’re using in there in the autumn. That’s the old reliable well-rotted farm manure, of which we’ve a copious supply. This would have been very available in period, and probably hasn’t changed much at all. And we’ll build up raised beds for drainage; there’s evidence for this right back to the Roman Era, so we’ve no tricky decisions to make just yet.
Thus far, our thinking is to aim for produce as it would have been in the late 1500s this year, and work backwards from there in future years.