As the nights retreat and the Forsythia buds pop to brighten the scene, I can sense the imminence of spring. It has been a tough journey through winter, but there is real hope now, the clocks will change within weeks and we will be in full swing. It has been very difficult to find the motivation for a committed run at the garden, with so many grey days jostling to fill the month, but it has been the hard physical stuff that has been most satisfying, not least because it offers purposeful distraction. So, against all the odds I have been digging and whilst the ground is still heavy, the air rush across the newly turned land is drying and warming. I have also found great joy in rebuilding my compost heap, firstly skimming off the recent material and then plundering the rich compost beneath. Composting is hugely satisfying and I am always amazed by the speed with which it all happens. My bin is a simple construction, formed by the squaring of four old pallets to create a box. I just peel them away from the heap and pop them back together once the good compost is removed. I will be glad of the space too with so much clearing up to do. I have started a bit of pruning now, with the sap on the move growth will soon be restored. As predicted there are some winter losses, but I am still going to give my apparent casualties another month, just in case they still have a trace of life.
My few bits of sowing on the window sill last month have come good and I have some cabbage which will be fit to plant out in a fortnight. The lettuce isn’t far off either, though I will try to offer it a bit of protection, when I plant it, the weather is still spiteful. Even a bit of fleece for a week will soften the growth and keep it edible. I will probably harvest it young anyway. The seed of salad stuff is so cheap that as long as sowing is repeated regularly, there is no need to strive for maturity. By the middle of the month, I will be hoping to really be underway with my sowing anyway. At the end of the month I will be sowing Tomatoes. I do yearn for the return of home grown tomatoes, though I did manage to keep fruit ripening right up to Christmas.
And finally, watch out for a gnome revival. Last month saw the release of another amazing animated feature film, ‘Gnomeo and Juliet’ a cartoon based on the Shakespearean classic . The strong gnome cast are bound to be seized upon by the merchandise boys and I will be amazed if we don’t see them everywhere.