Spring Equinox

Yesterday was the Spring Equinox – at long last – this past winter has certainly felt longer than it usually does. Spring is a time of mixed blessings for our garden. The flower beds and borders are all springing into life; the snowdrops and crocuses have done their thing, and now daffodils and primroses have taken over, and that’s all lovely.

But the kitchen garden is looking increasingly sad. The veg beds are slowly emptying of all the winter crops: we’re seeing the last of the carrots, sprouts, cabbage, parsnips and beetroot. We’ve a little kale left, and the purple sprouting broccoli is just about hanging in there, but April is on the horizon which is always a quiet month for the veg plot; the winter crops will have come and gone and the summer crops are still tiny seedlings, growing in the greenhouse or on the window sill.

Ade has mulched all the veg beds in the kitchen garden so they’re all raring to go… there’s just nothing in them!

Still, we’ve still got plenty of lovely cauliflower, beans and broccoli in the freezer which we’ll be able to use up, and let’s not forget the stinging nettles, which I’ll be out foraging very soon.

It’s been very cold here in Suffolk, these past few days. Spring hasn’t sounded it’s trumpet with a burst of sunshine and warmer temperatures. Quite the contrary. We’re still having frosts and fog and there was a bitter wind today. But I believe it will be a little milder this week.

This week marks a year since the UK entered lockdown. Who can believe it? It’s a completely different world to what it was a year ago, which is why the garden is such a solace; despite all the horrors and sadness and frustrations that this pandemic has bought with it, the garden is still out there, just quietly doing its thing, as it always has done. The hellebores are flowering, the hawthorn is soon to come into leaf. The natural world brings a sense of continuity, inevitability, which is so desperately needed when the human world feels so chaotic.

But we still have plenty to look forward to. Ade’s going to try and grow sweet potatoes this year which I’m really excited about (I’ve been asking him to grow them for years, but I believe they’re a bit tricky!), and we also might get around to reinstating our front garden which is currently gravelled and used for parking (I know, the horror!) But that’s quite a big job that’s dependent on us reconfiguring and slightly enlarging the driveway which we can’t do until we’ve sorted our waste pipes out (I’m not going to bore you with THAT story!), so there is a chain of quite big and hideously-expensive jobs that need to be taken care of before we can have a) a proper front garden and b) a completely secluded back garden. But we’ll get there… and we’ll let you know how we get on.

In the meantime, have a great week!

Cat-astrophe

With everything going on this month, Ade has had little time to spend in our own garden. The raised beds, as you know, are ready and waiting and filled with lovely, rich Dalefoot compost, while the first of Ade’s seedlings are sprouting happily in the greenhouse. However, a rather unfortunate development has come to our attention. Daisy, our diva of a cat, doesn’t think our vegetable beds are vegetable beds. She thinks we’ve built her six palatial litter trays.

Both of us have caught sight of her from the house, at one time or another, squatting defiantly upon each one of Ade’s brand new, meticulously prepared beds.

‘You’ll have to dig them over thoroughly before you plant anything,’ I chuckled to Ade last week, ‘make sure you get all of her mess out.’

‘But this was meant to be my first proper attempt at no-dig gardening.’ He said forlornly.

Foiled.

We’ll have to make sure we get it all out as cat waste is very bad news for veg gardens. Sadly for us, it doesn’t have the benefits of chicken manure, and can actually be quite dangerous.

So, another job to add to the ever-expanding to-do list. And a cat that requires some serious disciplining. Maybe it’s time to get that dog we’ve been talking about.

No Rest for the Wicked

I once said to Soph, ‘this new life will give us more time to relax and unwind’. How wrong I was. We’ve never been so busy. Not that I’m complaining.

Whether it’s gardening for new clients, TV presenting, renovating the house or building the kitchen garden, life continues to thrill and surprise me. Continue reading “No Rest for the Wicked”