*Japanese is better at most languages I know for expressing the wonder of things!
I was beginning to despair. I know TS Eliot says April is the cruellest month, and he’s right to some degree, with so many of my loved ones having failed to make the distance in April, but January was beginning to feel pretty cruel, too.
However, the snowdrops are not a symbol for no good reason at all. Not only is the earth warming, the ground softening, but Winter’s coat-tails are disappearing into the distance, finally. Thus with life. We have thousands of little signs of growth and new life. Mother Nature reassures us all is not dead.
I planted some leeks at the beginning of January, in amidst unusually warm days. They were slow to take, but yesterday, I noticed little growths popping up through the soil. It’s taken a month, but then we have had some much colder weather and I don’t think the lean-to has been over 5° for more than 5 days at a time. I reckon I’d use 2 or 3 leeks a week for leek and potato soup and leek and potato strudel, and most of those will come from frozen, so 150 leeks will do me nicely! (if an unbelievable amount!!)
Not only that, but either the begonias or petunias are beginning to flourish. Lesson #1 of 2011: label your plants! I can’t begin to say how annoying it is not to know which is which! I’ve been meticulously labelling ever since.
I was also beginning to despair about the peas. The peas had already surfaced in the poly-tunnel, but they were slow to take in the lean-to. Yesterday, they too were beginning to show.
I think I’ll be a bit more adventurous with types next year, but this year, I want lots to eat and lots in the freezer by September. If I don’t have 10 kg of peas, I shan’t be happy!! I want enough for special fried rice and my spring risotto and ham and pea soup for next winter to get us right through until the early crops. I like how the little pea on the left looks a bit like an alien baby emerging from Sigourney Weaver in Alien.
I’ve got 2 lots of potatoes chitting already (couldn’t be bothered to just leave them til later in the year – and whether chitting works or not, it seemed a bit pointless not to bother)
Apparently good for being mashed, baked potatoes, boiled, in salads or for yummy Duchesse potatoes (I like the French for yum-yum which is miam-miam. It’s vaguely Japanese-sounding and cute!!) We’ve also got some salad potatoes chitting – Amandine. I’m going to plant them on the plot we dug up last autumn – the soil is good but potatoes are so good at breaking up the soil. Hopefully, I can get about 30kg from them, though that won’t last long. We go through at least 5kg a week, so the more the merrier! I may get a little more experimental with my potatoes this year, since we enjoyed planting them and digging them up so much. I should be here to shore them up and look after them, too.
Today, I’ve planted in some carrot seed of Steve’s from 2006. Maybe they’ll grow. Maybe not. Not a problem if they don’t.
Just in case it was getting all vegetative here, I’ve planted Achillea Summer Berries to keep the flower balance. I’d love a huge cottage garden and I really want lots of perennials and self-seeding annuals around the courtyard for later in the year. I want it kind of riad-y and yet also cottage garden-y. I have great plans!!
I have also got lots of sweet peas going – can’t have enough of these! I’ve already got some I started off in November: Winston Churchill (well, you’ve got to remind these French people of the might of England!) I just looooooooove cut sweet peas – the scent of them is magnificent… and they just keep giving. I’ve got Winston Churchill, White Supreme, Appleblossom and Chatsworth all planted. I could seriously grow nothing but sweet peas. They’re so easy, so joyful and so giving.
Finally, I’ve got some cauliflowers, parsnips, saffron crocuses, thyme, rosemary and broad beans all on the go. Here’s to happy returns of things grown. Funnily, I’ve been looking through Steve’s photos from last year and the place looks so green, so verdant. It’s hard to imagine it being quite so lush!! At one point, it was so seriously overgrown you wouldn’t think we could get it back under control!!