Monday, 31 January 2011

Gardeners' Restraint

I am biting at the bit! 

It’s that time of year when I am itching to get gardening.  I’ve entertained myself throughout the Winter with various tasks including clearing the garden and allotment plot of unnecessary rubbish and some of the leftovers from the growing season, whilst remaining mindful that some of the mini-beasts I need to keep many pests at bay require shelter from the elements too.   I’ve also concentrated on landscaping, a great job to keep you ticking over during the Autumn and Winter months, with the addition of raised beds to help improve drainage, create a good root run for root vegetables and to potentially adopt a no-dig regime.  I took the plot on last May and raised beds were high on my agenda, after all the weeds, stones, boots, wire, plastic bags and brambles had been removed of course.  My plot is also at the bottom of a slope near to a ditch that is usually filled with run-off and with the plot being on clay soil raising the beds will hopefully prove to be quite beneficial. 

After raising the beds, and in my desperation to keep active, I’ve embarked on creating a dead hedge.  This was going quite well, with most of my uprights going in ready to be filled with dead branches, twigs and the like, until of course the cold weather hit again making the ground completely unworkable.  That is unless you can muster up the energy to attack the ground with a pickaxe or indeed have a JCB at your disposal.  Instead I have taken to collecting toilet roll tubes and egg boxes in readiness for seed sowing and chitting of potatoes (although it’s unlikely I will ever get round to doing this).

The cold period is yet to go away leaving the garden and allotment completely frozen.  The Brassicas look as though they’ve just about had enough of the cold, having battled through several periods of fluctuating weather, and are on the verge of giving up or at least it looks that way for now.  The Rhubarb appears to be the only thing that wants to get going and is even more excited about Spring than I am.

Unaware of the weather, the chickens have positively thrived and despite a minor moult have laid throughout the Winter.  They’ve been treated to warm breakfast everyday, lots of corn in the evening and regular mealworm treats.  Despite this I think some warmer weather would be greatly appreciated as their new coop extension can begin construction and a few new members will be added to their flock, if of course two chickens could constitute a flock?

In terms of gardening, however, I’m struggling.

As I’ve completely run out of things to do now I guess I’ll just wait for Spring then?  My ever-growing seed collection filled with many exciting potential plants is quietly waiting in a near motionless dormancy, the tubers, corms and bulbs are waiting patiently (some more patiently than others) and as I write I spy a collection of 66 toilet roll tubes that only add to my ever growing concern that gardening is slowly alienating me from society and giving me an air of “crazy”.

So Spring, do me a favour – hurry up!


  1. Hi Ryan, a lovely post and I sympathise with you as I feel the same way. I actually went ahead and sowed some seeds yesterday. The Broad beans are supposed to go into a cold-frame or an unheated greenhouse after sowing, but I put them in the garage which has plenty of light and is a bit warmer than the above, and the root-trainers have a lid to keep them moist, so hopefully they will survive.

  2. Hi Ryan - I share your impatience. January makes me liable to do just about anything. Chickens came up in convo today with my four-year old. I explained that some people stop buying eggs and start buying chickens, which give them eggs. She assumed I meant dead chickens, a la Tesco under cellophane. I had to clarify. She likes the sound of the live ones, and so do I. Yours sound most content.

    Sheila Averbuch - Stopwatch Gardener

  3. It is strange this year how the chickens have laid all winter, not sure I remember them doing this before. I am also collecting toilet rolls, they worked really well last year, being 'crazy' is fun, embrace it :-)

  4. It's so funny going from blog to blog and everyone is pleading for spring! Myself included- if there's one thing gardening has taught me it's patience...well sort-of :)

    Happy almost spring!


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