Tuesday, 29 January 2013

thumb twiddling....

After some quite mild weather early in the month it all went downhill with frost and snow to be followed by rain and gale force winds, so I'm doing a lot of thumb twiddling and gazing at leaden skies. My main potato order is yet to arrive but I have about 60 assorted tubers chitting in the utility room. These I've picked up from Wilko's, Poundland and elsewhere and will be the earliest of my earlies grown in the greenhouse.

The new shoots that were poking up a few weeks ago are now just sulking and, even though I covered the rhubarb with upturned pots it doesn't seem any bigger. Ah, well.

I have been sowing some cress just to get a crop of something, even if it is just a sandwich garnish! Onions and leeks are germinating in one of the propagators and I've also potted up some shallots in MPC to give them an early start. After potatoes I'd say that alliums were our most used veg. so I like to aim for an almost year-round supply if I can. The stored onions are now sprouting long shoots so they won't last much longer but I still have leeks on the plot and overwintered spring onions in the greenhouse.

Today's picture is just to remind me and everyone else that it really won't be long before the potting bench is awash with seedlings and young plants.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

New shoots

It doesn't take much to get us gardeners excited and the one thing that really does it for me is seeing new shoots emerging in the still cold and dark days of January. I know winter is far from over yet but the sight of that fresh green growth means that nature is getting ready for a new start.

The recent mild weather has had a lot to do with it. Chives have up to two inches of new shoots, as have some welsh onions in sowed in a pot last year.
I also noticed that one of the rhubarb crowns has sprouted so I covered it with an inverted pot to give it a bit of protection and encourage more growth. 

We've had several days without rain now and a good drying wind today so I was able to get a few things done around the garden. The two  top beds are almost ready for planting but will get a top dressing of BFB prior to putting anything in. Because we have trees at the bottom of the garden the lower beds don't get much sun in midwinter so I normally get the top beds ready first. Block planting, rather than rows means that I can get the earliest plantings done into ground that is starting to warm up. I know it's too early yet but I like to get things ready if I can then I'm not rushing around like a mad thing trying to do everything at once. With a bit of luck I'll be able to get some cloche protection in place by early February and then the first sowings of broad beans will be going in if it's not too cold. Can't wait to get going!