dimanche 5 mars 2017

Seasonal starting blocks

March is a few days old, but not yet a daffodil in flower...at least 2 weeks later than last year. The dance of snowdrops is starting to fade, colchique crocus have been flowering since  around 17th Feb when the first crane birds flew over here back from south to north.

First ticks re-emerging with the sunny warmth, despite frosty nights. And now, after a dryish winter, deluging rains have been flooding the ditches and causing streams to overflow. 
Getting polytunnels and greenhouses back into order, rehydrating the soil, cleaning algae of the plastic and removing last year's remaining dead plants. The new season will soon explode into action, seeds already ordered and potting compost at the ready.

Each year begins with fresh endeavour to have a spectacular, ordered garden overflowing with produce....and then the speed of fresh growth quickly overtakes any notion of keeping up with Nature's own-willed....wild!....profusion.

 Successes of last year include cucumbers,
    sweet potatoes   
 and cape gooseberries,   grown again for the first time in years.

New discovery and definitely to be nurtured this year is shiso or perilla: I saw this little plant with great claims on the label in a supermarket & decided to try it out. Wonderful salad plant, looks a bit like purple basil, tastes like litchi to me. Lifts the flavour of a bowl of mixed leaves in a tangy and delightfully refreshing way.  

Ambitions for garden 2017 include lots of artichokes and asparagus, impressive & delicious perennial veg...and getting sooooooo expensive to buy.

Last year was the least productive in fruit in 2 decades: mild winter, cold late spring, scorching july & dry august all factors. Hoping for much better this year...but despite all best efforts in caring for the soil & cultivating lots of diversity, it's still Nature & the weather that has the deciding hand. 

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