Hoorah, my seed potatoes have arrived and are safely set out in egg boxes on the window sill. I have just used the last of last years crop which kept beautifully in the frost free shed. The onions from last season are still going well with no sign of any shooting or rot as are the Shallots and garlic. The pots of crocus I planted last autumn are in bloom and looking very colourful on the conservatory window sill on sunny days when they open out fully.
Outside in the garden there are jobs to be getting on with when the weather permits. Pulling weeds is easy when the ground is soft and I carry a small plank about with me to prevent compacting the soil when I walk on it. I have had to put extra netting around my purple sprouting broccoli as the word has gone out around the local pigeon population and they sit on the tops of the plants and pick out the ‘sprouts’.
All the broad beans have come through the worst of the weather and I shall go out and tie them in to the sticks this week as they will soon start growing taller as the days lengthen. The autumn planted garlic bulbs have all come through and have a good 8 inches of growth on top and the shallots planted at the same time are greening up as well. Promises of good things to come.
Out in the flower garden the snowdrops and aconites are looking splendid and the Winter Sweet is in full flower giving off a gorgeous perfume by the front arch as everyone walks by. A flower arrangement of Christmas Box (sarcococca) and snowdrops in the house fills the room with a wonderful scent and lasts for a week.
The chickens have made good use of the fruit cage and have been scratching around the bushes picking out slugs and bugs. They will only have a few more weeks before they have to be excluded as the buds on the currant and gooseberry bushes are swelling already and there is nothing the girls like better than a juicy bud.
I have had my hands in soil ever since I could crawl. I remember well going out into the garden and watching my Father double digging the vegetable plot and being shown how to pick caterpillars off the brassicas. You could say he was an early organic gardener. There was something nice about sneaking round behind the outhouse and pulling rhubarb and dipping it in sugar, picking raspberries and stuffing handfuls into my mouth. It is these memories of taste and smell that never leave you and make you want to grow your own fresh fruit and vegetables.
It has been something of a treat then, to find myself working for Thompson and Morgan for the past 13 years and being able to help customers to solve their gardening problems