Saturday, January 29, 2011


I'm rather obviously writing this indoors; outdoors being ever so slightly inhospitable still. The prospect of doing anything un-gloved, un-hatted and immobile out there is so unappealing.

About a week ago the temperature nudged up into double figures and the sun shone - admittedly there was much mud and wetness too but it did seem to herald an end to this interminable cold.

Hah! Fat chance of that. The big chill is back and with it the chore of schlepping buckets of water up to the poultry from the house. Not only have the water butts frozen up but the washers to their taps have been wrecked by the ice and the Glam Ass's attempts to replace them was complicated by a tap breaking as well. The repair job involved emptying the butt in question - so now we must wait for torrential rain to fill it up again. Back to carting water for me then.

Never mind - my seed order from Thompson and Morgan arrived at the end of last week; packets and packets of seed. Packets of such promise. Time to plan out what goes where too  - this year I need to start a new chart of our raised beds which shows what has been planted in previous years. We're very keen on our crop rotation up here in the small mountain kingdom of Trelystan; like should not follow like and some things need more muck than others. The Glam Ass has spruced up the labels for the beds and I will go and plant them when the soil has thawed sufficiently.
We're planting much the same things as usual - I shall continue to try and grow squash and will have another go at carrots. Carrots should be easy shouldn't they. Children get given carrot seed to grow. Sprinkle it in a drill and you're away. Fat chance round here - we are plagued with carrot fly. This year, having failed with plan A (mesh on a frame around and over the bed), plan B (growing carrots in tubs above the alleged height of a carrot fly), plan C (growing a resistant variety) and plan D (removing all thinnings carefully so as not to leave lovely carroty smelling leaves as an attractant), we shall try plan E - sowing later when the dratted carrot fly season is over. After that? Give up and go to Sainsburys perhaps.

I'm going to make room for some flowers too - I've been very inspired by Elizabethm's cutting garden - a couple of rows of fragrant sweet peas at the very least.

I've got itchy feet and itchy fingers - I want to be out there getting on with things. I think I should be able to sow some modules of onions under glass but everything else will have to wait. Sigh.

There are lambs down in the village at last - little scraps of things, bleeting for mum and milk. They're as promising to me as those packets of seed. New life at last. Spring will come.


Wipso said...

Think we are all looking forward to warmer weather. We have lots of bulbs popping up much promise of things to come :-)
A x

rachel said...

How organised you are! Maybe the reason I was never a really successful gardener is that I don't give it a thought till it's a warm Spring day.....

However, I did have success with carrots grown in a sand-filled barrel - one of those hideous bright blue ones that you scrounge from factories (in our case, Nestle). Strew the seeds on top of the sand, and sieve no more than a quarter of an inch of compost over, just to keep the seeds in place. Thos dratted flies didn't find them, ever!

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

I agree , it's too paralysingly cold to do anything much outside . But making plans indoors sounds a perfect way to enjoy an afternoon , mug of tea in hand !
Your planting plan sounds a very good idea and elegant labels an excellent start .
I do like the sound of eeks and look forward to lots of photos of Eek and Potato soup .

snailbeachshepherdess said...

well I do carrots in a dustbin - amazing crop with no carrot fly! About the only thing I ever get right! Eek and potato soup sounds good!

Fennie said...

Ah the days of Thomson and Morgan. Dream on! I could never make those lush pictures come to life. But maybe you are more disciplined and more successful in the realm of Trelystan. But why, I want to ask, carrots? Of all vegetables, carrots for me would be one of the easiest to live without, coming only just slightly below aubergines and beetroot in the list of items that could safely be left off any list. What does a carrot have that a potato or parsnip doesn't?; besides they take longer to cook.

Frances said...

As we await our next snow supply in New York, it is a pleasure to read about your garden plans and rotation notes.

About carrots. Your mentioning them takes me back to my last garden, Brooklyn ca. 1975. Carrots did not thrive, we found strange little carrot wannabe's. But the tomatoes, beans, zucchini and flowers were lovely. All were grown from seeds.

How I dream of having another garden in this lifetime!

Best wishes with yours. xo

Lindsay said...

We plant marigolds next to the carrots. Carrot fly to not like the smell of the dwarf marigolds and nor do I !!

bayou said...

Who was it who said: don't grow in your garden what you can buy easily and at good price. Our carrots come in 25 kg bags for the horses at 3 Euro. Only the cleaning of home grown carottes or potatoes would cost more in water supply, methinks. But I love to have beans and peas and squash and courgettes. And herbs. And flowers, plenty of them :-).