Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Blood On The Snowdrops

Recently I have been taking a couple of trays of onions outside daily to catch some sun.  I sowed them in January and now they are clogging up the propagator/sunbed.  I plan to move them to the (unheated) greenhouse as soon as practically possible, but I don't want to shock them so things are in abeyance.  Today has been a no go day as although the sun has appeared for brief intervals snow showers have followed in short order. So I am inside wondering why all the birds have gone quiet when I catch sight of this.

The dreaded sparrowhawk has returned and downed a pigeon.  I guess they are hungry in winter too.  (If it had been a sparrow I would have been more upset.)

Here is a suitable song for the conditions:

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.


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!