As the ‘Beast of the East’ blows in, the British winter reminds us that it’s not done yet and ooh what a stinker this bit of cold is! Although looking out of my window, the freshly laid snow is strikingly beautiful. What’s amazing is that it seems to take everybody by surprise.
The British infatuation with the weather is certainly a trait and hopefully our discussions will soon turn to spring.
For me as gardener, the new season is all I can think about. I have just received my seeds from the Heritage Seed Library and frankly I am akin to a kid on Christmas Day. My friends, who are mostly Trades men don’t get it but seem to admire my passion and I never tire of trying to get them to join in.
With HSL seeds now stacked up in the front room (and who can’t love names like Champion of England, Bronze Arrow and Green Nutmeg) next to a pile of dusted off propagators and trays of chitting potatoes, I can see the next 6 weeks I might not be overly popular with my wife but I don't care. Let the fun begin!
Of course, in between everything else I have been busy preparing my allotment site. The key to a strong start in spring is all in the preparation. It was a big fight last year, as the plot had been overgrown for many years, so I’m hoping it will be a little bit easier this season (just a little bit). I now have it divided into sections, using old timber from my initial clear out. This is going to make rotation a lot easier and I have put in pathways between each divided area so that I can avoid walking on my growing areas. All I need to do now is get a trailer of compost from a local supplier and I’m ready to go.
This is hopefully the first and last time I pay for compost, as using a selection of old pallets I knocked up a couple of compost bays and a leafmould bin. Homemade compost to be the order of the day in future. I have also put a bin in my kitchen specifically to collect brown wastes. There’s nothing like watching the process of compost being created by nature and it’s good to be ready this year as the sheer volume of pernicious weeds made it impossible last season. I’m proud to say that all my plot bays and the compost bins cost me no more than a bag of nails. This means my funding can go on all of my plants.
I have now also tackled the last fifth of the allotment - an area I left last season. There was one sad moment when an old plum tree, which I may have mentioned before, had to be taken down. Full of canker and diseased heart wood, its time has come. The good thing about being a gardener is I can plant a replacement.
I have also been fervently collecting summer flowering bulbs as I’m determined to have a cut flower area. Freesias, dhalia and gladioli are just a few that will light up not just my allotment plot but also my living room and maybe compensate for all the seed propagation that will be going on in the next few weeks.
Soon however the propagation in the front room will be a thing of the past as I’ve saved up my pennies and I’m now looking at greenhouses. When one of those gets delivered, I really will be like a kid on Christmas Day, or should I say a spring day?
Happy gardening people