08 March 2009

Brief glimpse of Spring

Hung the washing on the line for the first time this year and then spent a couple of hours this afternoon in the garden and greenhouse. I cleared up the remains of the cabbages that I had failed to harvest before the frosts arrived last year. I also sowed some more lettuce and some leek and spinach seeds into trays in the greenhouse. Mike added a few more scoopfuls of sand to the wettest of the beds in the lower vegetable garden, which I raked into the soil. Or into small ponds, in some cases. Mike also dug another channel to divert some of the stream water away from the barn, which might help to dry the barnyard up a bit more quickly.

I've read about using guttering (eavestrough) to start off peas, so thought I'd have a go at that. In fact the gardener Sarah Raven recommends this for a variety of different vegetables in an article I found online just now. Including parsnips, which might be worth a go. I've never tried doing this before, but as our soil is so cold and damp at the moment (and as I now have a greenhouse to shelter them in!), I thought it was worth a try.

The only time I've seen people doing this, they've been using the semi-circular sort of plastic guttering that you get in the UK. All I had to hand was some old alumin(i)um eavestrough that must have fallen off the side of the small barn at some point. It's square rather than semi-circular, but I'm assuming that it will work just fine. It was quite long, so I got Mike to cut it into two pieces for me, then filled it with potting soil/compost. I've sown Oregon Sugar Snap II in the smaller length and Lincoln peas in the longer one.

Tonight we've got freezing rain forecast, so the fleeting look at Spring won't last long, but it was enough to fill me with enthusiasm for the growing year ahead. Yesterday was so hectic with the book launch we held at the library in Deseronto, that it was lovely today to reconnect with the garden. I'm even pleased to see that my fingernails have regained their trademark growing-season line of muck!


Victoria Summerley said...

I'm amazed you've got any fingernails, Amanda, it sounds as if you've worn your fingers to the bone. It's a great feeling to be gardening again, isn't it?

themanicgardener said...

Ah, the seasonal dirty-fingernail look! I know it well. Here's hoping all goes well with your peas.

Linda said...

I've longed to try the Sarah Raven guttering (I've got torn-out pages from the Country Living article where she first mentions it in my 'garden wishes' folder) but we don't have enough indoor space. Will look forward to seeing how your square-bottomed version turns out.