As the winds And floods of 2015 pass behind us we must look forward to Spring 2016! The days are lengthening so it is time to raise our spiritsand reach toward nature as it slowly resurrectsfrom the dark, sodden earth.
Out come the old biscuit tins full of last year’s half-emptied seed packets. I have also
managed to salvage a few home-gathered varieties such as milk thistle and perilla. These days I buy online, the seed sites are extremely informative and extremely tempting! I tend to go over my seed orders several times as I get carried away. I have to curb my enthusiasm or ‘should I say avarice’ for wanting everything that catches my eye – like a child in a sweet shop!
I have developed a fondness for kale and Swiss chard as unlike cabbage they are troublefree: no caterpillar attacks and no club root or other nasty afflictions. I have a new kale variety called ‘Thousand Head’ on my list this year which sounds promising! Oriental varieties also excite my palate. I can’t wait to try a few new ones such as choy sum‘Purple Stem’ which can be used young in salads or later cooked like spinach. I will be keeping an eye out for stock plants of new herb varieties but these are harder to come by.Recent additions include golden cotton lavender and lime mint.
I start sowing the hardy reliable varieties such as lettuce, rocket, parsley and mizuna in early February as soon as temperatures hit 10ºC. Details of the glasshouse and newspaper technique I use (under advice & tips) can be followed on my website
www.gretasherbs.com. By the time March has arrived, my daily ritual of sowing and
potting up increases with determined dedication. There is a sacredness in it all: as the
daylight extends so does my work load from morning until night.
Last summer was a washout yet nature still provided certain rewards – the greens grew abundantly! I will not mention the failures. Despite the many trials of gardening in a dismal, coastal climate, I can never let go of the hope for a hot, dry summer which gives red shine to tomatoes on the vine, pink\ochre skies in the evening time and as the sun goes down the gathering of tools amidst the scent of sage and lavender. Good memories like those ignite my optimism! I await the first sticky bud burst from the horse chestnut tree! I can hear the rhythm of gardening in my heart – it is time to get growing.
How boring life would be if it was all too predictable!