The solar eclipse smiled on us all last Friday. In that moment of eerie surrealism, birds returned to the trees and time seemed to stand still. It was also the day of the Spring Equinox. Two pivotal events marking a singular point; a time of change. For many, this brought a sense of optimism, looking towards something better, whether it be longer days, warmer nights or a more positive attitude towards our fellow Homo sapiens.
But us gardeners know that as the days start to stretch out, the jobs on the allotment quickly start to backup; those extra hours we’ve pined for start leaching away in the blink of an eye. So I threw myself into some sowing and planting this weekend. I opened up two beds, from the new part of the allotment, which I have been working on since last autumn. After a little secondary cultivation and consolidation on the first bed, I created a tilth so fine I caught myself appreciating its crumble and colour. The soil was speaking to me, stirring something deep within me… legumes! It was here I christened the first of the beds with a little successional sowing of mangetout and early peas.
On to to the second bed, which I had marked out last year for carrots and parsnips, and I was clearly a man possessed. Again it was secondary cultivation but this time there wouldn’t be any consolidation as I didn’t want to compact the soil and cause the carrot and parsnip seedlings to struggle and fork. I also made sure that this bed wouldn’t be as rich in nutrients, as carrots aren’t a fan of rich soil. With the bed primed I carried out further successional sowing with two types of carrot, ‘Purple Dragon’ and ‘Maestro’, knowing in the weeks to come I still have other varieties to sow. As for parsnips I’ve only gone for one variety this year: ‘Gladiator’.
With both beds fleeced, the Spring Equinox was flowing through my veins.. was I evolving into some gardening demigod? Into the polytunnel with no time to waste, I made for the module trays filling them with various seed gems; pak choi, celery, swiss chard, two types of beetroot, ‘Boltardy’ and ‘Golden Globe’, more ‘Tumbling Toms’ and to finish, I filled a trough and planted some ‘Little Gem’ lettuce.
At this point I was surely spent, but no, I had to press on; seize the moment! So in my newly dug flower bed I broadcast various ‘meadow’ flower seeds to bring in the wildlife, for when spring merges into summer I’ll need all the pollinators I can get.
Then as quickly as it arrived the moment was over, I slumped into my gardening chair, made a cuppa and reflected on what had come over me. Was it the keen gardener or had Mother Nature marked me for great growing things this season? Only time will tell.