Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Champing At The Bit?


 The prospect of an impending mini ice age has warned me off  sowing anything new.  (I have already filled up my propagator and there won't be anywhere to house the burgeoning tomatoes, peppers, leeks as my greenhouse is unheated).  To cheer myself up, and to use up some of my rye starter, I have made Rye Crispbreads for the first time.  The hole in the middle is indicative of the original storage technique for these Scandinavian staples. I won't be threading them though.  They stack up nicely anyhow.


I did go to the plot yesterday and pick some greens - and a goodly amount of carrots too.  I also barrowed and dug manure into the pea and bean patch, walking across the new brassica patch to compact the ground in the process.   One school of thought is that you should never compact ground where you want to grow vegetables, but I make an exception for brassicas which can disappoint in loose soil.



Once the promised cold snap has passed I can contemplate getting started on this year's sowing in earnest.  In the meantime I'll champ on crispbreads.



Friday, 9 February 2018

Catch Us If You Can







We have a colony of house sparrows who hang out in our garden hedge, particularly on sunny afternoons.


There are over a dozen of them but it is difficult to capture them on "film". So when they ventured up to the highest branches it was my chance.

I wasn't the only one to notice.  The sparrows disappeared in a trice when this chap showed up.




Postscript. The sparrowhawk turned up again the next day when I was out in the garden and dive bombed me on his way out.  I couldn't believe he would attack me but still found myself flapping my arms just to be on the safe side.  A fearsome sight.




First Harvest

Just to lift the spirits here's the first new year sown windowsill crop - Rocket Microgreens


I know part of it is already harvested - I nearly forgot to make a record at all. Well it is early.









Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Time to Face The Music

Clearing the decks for spring I have to record that the cut and come again trays in the greenhouse and on the kitchen windowsill failed to deliver.  They stalled at the microgreen size and proceeded no further.  Whether it was cold, lack of nutrition or lack of sunlight is academic.  The yield did not justify the effort



Another failure has been my attempt to overwinter broad beans at the plot.  I thought my fleece tent would shelter them.


Maybe it did help,  but some agency has still uprooted any plants that survived into the new year:

Move on please - Nothing to see here


A combination of frost action and mice I would guess.  On the plus side my Malwina strawberries delivered to late for planting out look quite happy in their temporary greenhouse residence





Also getting greenhouse space are these violas


Holding on for spring is this bedraggled parsley plant


On the plus side too is the clamped carrots


Despite my best efforts we are only three quarters of the way through the crop.  BTW  I have added carrot cake to my limited baking repertoire.

One more admission.  The pigeons discovered the purple sprouting broccoli was get attable through the net, and get at this one they did. 

Skeletalised PSB

Fortunately one robust plant is taller than all the others and so they couldn't get at the shorter ones.  Talk about taking one for the team!








Weary Winter?


There's snow on the ground today. But February snow is a different from December snow: The snowdrops are already out:




and there are green shoots popping up all over the shop.



Each one a promise of better things to come.

Bluebells

Bulbs - Unknown
Tucked away at the end of the garden there is a wonderful display from our newest addition, a whitch hazel we planted a year ago.  It looks like a good buy!

Hamamelis Arnold Promise



I would encourage you to listen to an old song that I dusted off for the occasion. Reacquainting myself with it I am amazed all over again! 


Thursday, 25 January 2018

Red for Go?

OK I have been impulsive.  Finding myself in the locality of a Garden Centre with an hour to kill in mid winter, I  bought some onion sets.


Have some sympathy for me: the label clearly states "Planting time December/May" 



As it was an impulse buy I hadn't checked out the books before buying so was dependant on the information from the vendor. All the books warn against planting onion sets too early.  Guaranteed to bolt so it would seem.  (That's excluding autumn planted Japanese onions) A week later and some of my sets are looking a bit blue and one or two have shrivelled, so to hedge my bets I have planted half of them up in modules to be kept in an unheated greenhouse.  The others I will keep dry indoors for now. I should have heeded the warning:


Monday, 22 January 2018

In Rude Health

Naiade


Just for a bit of winter cheer I have been dusting off my old photos files.  This one from Parc Tete D'Or did make me laugh!