Friday, 28 March 2008

Accepting what life throws at you....

Which at the moment seems to be vast amounts of water. All cold, some frozen.

When I look back on it, last weekend wasn’t quite the wash out it felt at the time. Friday was good - we spent time in the garden, mostly transferring our Alpines into terracotta pots, which could be placed in the bark chip filled Belfast sink we saved from a skip. I have several cultivars of Lesser Celandine, which are reaching their best around now. As they’re not as wildlife friendly, I’m not normally a fan of double flowers, but I have a cream double celandine which I adore. I have a couple of the best known - Brazen Hussey, named by the late great Christopher Lloyd in his usual impish style.

The rest of the weekend was punctuated by blizzards and snow flurries. Yet we managed a few hours at the allotment each day. Didn’t get the raised beds done, let alone plant potatoes, but we worked all the same.

We have a reclaimed potato crate which is earmarked for dismantling to provide the slats for the front of the compost bins. On Saturday it was turned on its side, and the various parts of the dismantled shed propped round it. Being a cubic metre and a half in size, it provided a decent sized shelter, and I set up the little camping stove plus a couple of kneeling pads for seats. I was able to brew up tea out of the worst of the weather and on Sunday cooked sausages for lunch.

This weekend looks like being another damp squib, but I’m near enough on top of the seed sowing, so the first sign of good weather we should catch up.

Should the weather permit you to get to the plot, the Wartime Weekend Gardener has plenty of tasks alloted to this date:

Thin onions sown as seed. If possible try to replant the thinnings or pot them up for planting out later.

Sow Kale. The variety recommended in the book is Cottagers, but there are plenty of other varieties worth sowing. Kale is hardy enough to stand up to most Winter weather, and some, like Ragged Jack, Redbor, Red Russian and especially Nero di Toscana provide great colour & form, worthy of a potager or even a mixed border.

Also, sow Savoy Cabbage. I happen to like Savoys, wilted in butter with mustard seeds, with a fresh tomato sauce or used to hold a pilaff type stuffing.

Also, start sowing maincrop carrots such as Autumn King. Some gardeners say that to lessen carrot fly damage, you should avoid sowing carrot seeds when Queen Anne’s Lace is in flower. Haven’t seen any out yet, hopefully the recent cold snap has brought things back in line.

It’s often said that the mindset has changed from gardening to control nature, to one of gardening with nature. In truth that still seems a little arrogant. We need to garden in a way that acknowledges we are part of nature. Maybe the best way to put it is gardening with the permission of nature.

Let’s see what we’re allowed to do over the next couple of weeks.

1 comment:

Val Grainger said...

A very good blog....I lurk here from time to time!!!