Sunday, 27 February 2011

Time March-es on

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.

Happy Gardening

Darling buds.........mmm

On thursday afternoon,I tucked in to some serious tidying up around the site. The sun was warm and I worked on through the afternoon in shirt sleeves. I saw hope in the emerging buds. The Raspberry canes and Currants were all showing signs of life and I put out a few broad bean plants. It was all very exciting. But,that was thursday and today cold rain sweeps the land to cussedly supress the rising optimism.
I am amazed at the number of customers today. I think that when the weather does improve,we will hear the sound of a starting pistol,followed by the thunder of a million wellington booted gardeners desperate to catch up.
With every passing lengthening day we and the clocks prepare for spring. Hooray !

Monday, 14 February 2011


There goes another Valentines Day.............and it has been quite a day. Romance is not dead after all and we have shunting flowers all over the district. Buying in is always a nervy job,especially when the celebration falls on a monday and every other supermarket,garage and corner shop has a rack of flowers. It didn't distract our customers thankfully though and our displays were quite depleted by the close of day. The shelves will be restocked tomorrow*.

Potato sales also continue to be strong, but gardeners do need to take care with storage, I have seen a very frosted tray of seed today. The customer had just set them out in a cold greenhouse and clearly they hadn't enjoyed the stay. The frost damage will take a week or so to show. With the forecast still suggesting cold,do keep watchful and cover them if the threat becomes real.

For those watching and waiting,we have our final consignment of potatoes due on wednesday.

*We are already taking flower bookings for Mothering Sunday (3rd April)

Sunday, 6 February 2011

A day for jackets..........roasters,chippers,mashers, smashers.....

It has been a blustery old day again, but it hasn't put off the potato customers,or indeed those, who like me are chomping at the bit just to be getting out there. The wind is at least drying the top and I am not taking quite so much mud back to the house. We are seeing sales across all areas of the shop and the demand for seed suggests the spring can't be too far away. I have sown a few bits in the hope of a warmer end to the month.

Not far off either is Valentines day and our florist is already seeing increased ordering.

We have a heavy goods week ahead, with the bulk of our new compost and dare I say 'more' potatoes due.

I will be trying to update the Taterbase availability later.