Sunday, 30 January 2011


Today had just a hint of things to come. The level of light seemed to have increased, it was milder than it has been over the last couple of days and when we went for a walk this afternoon I saw my first snowdrops of 2011 and the birds were chattering away in the trees - heralding the spring to come. However as was said on Gardeners' Question Time this afternoon "there's a lot of weather to come before spring gets here".
I spent this morning clearing out the greenhouse to make room for some planting, and planted broad beans, tomatoes (four varieties), cucumbers. aubergines and  chillis. Outside I put in some spring onion sets and a crown of rhubarb. It felt good to actually be doing something, though after a recent bought of flu my energy levels were somewhat sapped by the end of the morning.
I've left the greenhouse shut up snug and warm with the paraffin heater on low. I must remember to keep checking in there over the next few weeks.
I've also made myself a mental plan of what to do at the allotment this year. Last year was my first full year of growing there and I have learned a lot from it. It's also been illuminating to find out what we've used and what we haven't and how I can make better use of the space. I know that I need to get much better at successional planting of things like peas and beans to avoid being stuck with a glut all at once. Having drowned in courgettes my first year, I didn't really keep on top of them last year and should have planted more.
I should now stop reflecting on all things dubdug and get on with my OU essay that has to be in by Thursday..oh well...

Sunday, 9 January 2011

'Twas a cold and frosty morning

We woke up to a beautiful winter's day : clear skies and a magical covering of frost. I wrapped up warm and took myself down to the allotment. Not surprisingly I was the only person there.
I thought that the ground might be too hard, but luckily the recent milder weather has defrosted the soil and apart from a frosty crust, it was easy to dig. I got up the last of the sprout sticks and put them in the compost bin, and harvested the remaining parsnips. I feel large quantities of spicy parsnip soup coming on - I must clear some space in the freezer!
My celeriac have been an utter disaster, only having reached the size of a small tennis ball, one of them will be usable once the mud and roots have been cleared away, but the others all went for compost.
Amazingly the Aquadulce broad beans that I put in as an autumn planting have survived the winter so far, and the garlic is thriving in little straight rows of erect green shoots.
Having now warmed up a bit I am off down to the kitchen to listen to the Archer's omnibus and do a full Claireish breakfast - potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms, eggs, veggie sausages and chutney - YUM.