• Friday, February 11th, 2011
Gardening in February always starts with some ungrateful tasks such as cleaning the greenhouse and fixing the water butt (which collapsed on the floor due to the amount of ice in the worst of the winter cold). However the sense of anticipation of the new season to come has kept me going on a grey and blustery weekend.
Top of the agenda was pruning the red grape vine which is climbing alongside my shed. I had to borrow a ladder and started to cut down the excess of shoots back to 2 buds. I have also managed to secure a plastic bucket on my rhubarb with the help of a few stones – which offers a basic alternative to fancy rhubarb terracotta pots designed for forcing the vegetable.
I have also pruned my blackcurrant and redcurrant bushes and weeded the base of the bush. Hopefully when the wind eases off and weather allowing I shall be able to feed my bushes a sprinkling of sulphate of potash. This should help them get a kick start in Spring and stimulate the bush to produce a good crop of fruits.
Getting on with the digging is a key task at this time of the year, as I start looking into my sowing plans for the year taking into account plant rotation. I actually found a few rotten beetroots which had been missed from the harvest in autumn, as well as a few baby carrots which I have managed to use in a beef stew. I also wish I had harvested the last of my celery stalks earlier as the plant didn’t fare well in the cold and snow.
I have observed a few crocuses starting to emerge and I guess a warm spell is all they need to burst into blossom. The garden looks like a battle field with the vestiges of faded flower heads, worn out lawn and broken plants seemingly struggling in the wind.
As I contemplate my bare garden and consider alternative crops and flowers I really look forward to the Spring to come.
• Sunday, February 21st, 2010
Today we’ve had a mix of all types of weather which has not been favourable to gardening. Snow, rain and sun succeeded throughout the day. As the ground is still too wet to dig I decided to get on with clearing and cleaning the greeenhouse. First I removed all my pots of succulents and autumn cuttings from the greenhouse and cleaned all the window panes. I also removed any old grow bag and leaves left from last summer’s tomato and pepper crops.
Then as it started to rain it was time to bring back my old wooden bench from the shed into the greenhouse and set everything back in place. A little inquisite robin got trapped in the greenhouse as I was preparing a couple of pots for sowing. I sowed some sweet peas (of mixed colours) as well as some passion flower seeds which are both lovely climbers and which I will keep indoors for now.
I am in the process of sorting my seeds and getting all my pots cleaned and ready for the succession of sowings to come. This is probably one of the coldest and longest winters that we’ve had for a few years. In fact I was reading in a gardening magazine that magnolias which traditionally flower earliest in Cornwall are still not in blooms. This is due to the cold snap in that area. Hopefully by March they will be in blooms at Trewithen near Truro.
On this cold day I also bought some potato seeds from an early variety called Red Duke of York which I have never grown before. I intend to start chitting my seeds in the next couple of weeks. It was good to see my local garden center selling so many varieties of loose potatoes sold by weight. Mine only cost 1 pound per kilo.
But right now back at home I am enjoying the blossom of my lovely Amaryllis from a variety called Aphrodite and I look forward to warmer days.