Hanging on

It feels like winter is never giving up the ghost. The Guardian had an article explaining that the prolonged weather patterns are to do with the gulf stream slowing down and not shifting the weather on, but I don’t know. It just seems like winter really does not want to go away. And the more excited I get about it being spring, the longer it takes for winter to go. I’m still wearing three jumpers here. Don’t get me wrong: there have been short bursts of warmth.


Still… as a friend said at the weekend, give it two weeks and it’ll be baking hot and we’ll all be moaning.

Right now, I’d just do anything to get one of my jumpers off without feeling like I am going to turn to ice. We had a couple of nice days last week, and it’s going to be nice at the weekend, but a cold April and May are no stranger to me after last year, where it stayed under 11° for three whole weeks.

It’s been a big few days in the garden since my gorgeous HelpXrs arrived… though nothing has grown, the earth has been massively prepared and fences have been fixed. The potato patch is now ready. The vegetable garden is once again chicken-proof.

The vegetable garden used to be chicken-proof when I first arrived, despite the minging fence (there’s a good Northern word for you…) but some happy band of creatures has been hightailing it through my garden, from the Heston-hole by the troll bridge, through the garden, under the Heston-hole in the vegetable garden fence, under the plum trees and out at the Heston-hole at the top.

I say Heston-hole when I know full well that they are César holes. That dog loved to come in and see Molly. Since she’s back in England, César comes sometimes to see me, but has since found some friends up in the ‘high’ bit of the village in two Heinzers belonging to another farmer who lets his run about randomly too. This drives my friend Lise crazy. It’s not just the English softies who are irritated by ‘country’ attitudes to dogs. I say ‘country’ because I know it happens in cities too, and I also know several farmers who love their dogs dearly here.

Anyway, the César holes are no more and whatever little creature has made it a super-highway through my garden will find itself sadly stuck at a dead-end.

Personally, I am of the impression it is a hedgehog trail, since it’s unlikely for anything else to make such a clear little track through there, and when I go out early in the morning, there are sometimes as many as five or six huge hedgehogs hanging about.

That’s good for me. I love hedgehogs. They never make a mess in my garden. They are not interested in my chickens. What more can you ask for in a garden visitor?

Part of me wants to make a little space for them to get through, but some of those fellas are big and my hens are remarkably persistent when it comes to attempts to break in to their wormy breakfast buffet bar.

Lots of my seedlings are still sitting indoors, though it is only 10 days before the latest frost I’ve seen in these parts. This April has been so inclement that I don’t trust it to be dry. Plus, they’re not big yet.


So, what is up and what is in?

  • Gardener’s Delight tomatoes
  • Super Marmande tomatoes
  • Alicante tomatoes
  • Super Roma tomatoes
  • cauliflower ‘merveille de quatre saisons’
  • musselburgh leeks
  • Autumn Giant leeks
  • kale
  • sweet banana pepper
  • Rachel’s cauliflower seeds that I can’t remember the name of
  • cheap aubergines
  • expensive aubergines
  • savoy cabbage
  • oak-leaf lettuce
  • red lettuce
  • brussels sprouts
  • basil
  • red cabbage
  • Webbs lettuce
  • tabasco pepper
  • poppies
  • broccoli
  • cucumber
  • more lettuce

The plot for the potatoes is done, too. Onwards with the other three plots now, I think. One of them will be the root vegetables patch, including the onions and carrots. I have lots of seeds just desperate to get outside. I hear them crying in their packets.

The best thing is having all those annoying little jobs done for you by a pair of miracle-working teenagers who willingly prune and chop and fix and dig. Wow. I can’t begin to explain how much work has been done in just two days of work. Joy. Everybody needs some HelpXrs, I swear.


6 thoughts on “Hanging on

  1. The HelpXrs sound excellent. May it continue.

    The hole in the veggie garden fence issue is tricky. Mine is rabbit proof, but it’s a shame it is also therefore hedgehog proof.

    Get used to the weather. New, very credible research is showing that it is connected to the rapid break up of the Arctic ice, which causes the jetstream to move south. These weather patterns tend to sit unmoving for weeks. Last March’s extreme good weather was caused by the exact reverse situation (unusually cold in the Arctic), but our current spring weather pattern is likely to be the more common. The further north you are the more pronounced the effects.

  2. Your Toms don’t look to have grown much! It seems ages since you said you planted them. Ours are a similar size and we only planted them 2/3 weeks ago. Happy Gardening and the weather will do what it wants but it will get warmer. In fact it is this morning…

    1. They are still weeny, though these are some of the younger ones as I’ve been doing them every two weeks since February – think they need a week of good Charentais sun!

  3. We had gales and hail stones and lashing rain…loads if it… this morning…ok…it is warmer…but it’s not friendly yet.

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