Well, some slightly more seasonal weather around, with some spiteful wind pulling temperatures down. The water doesn’t want to go away though does it, everything is so wet. It is a very strange start to the year and you do wonder what will happen to all of the tender plants if we have snow, everything is soft and out of step. Everyone has been reporting the early showing of daffodils and snowdrops, but we have cowslips flowering and bluebells in full leaf. Anyway theoretically we have turned a corner and the spring is not far away. Easter is as early as it can be so let’s hope that it offers a springboard for a good season. We do need to start tackling something.
Last months work will have rolled over in most households, so as space permits, Broad beans, Peas, Rhubarb, Garlic, Onions, shallots and Asparagus can all be planted out. Vegetables seed can be started, they will need some basic protection, a cold frame, greenhouse or even window sill. Hardy vegetables will not need heat, so you can consider Cabbage, lettuce, some late spinach or even a bit of Calabrese or Cauliflower. If you want a bit of fun try a few beetroot or onions in egg boxes. Put a pinch into each compartment and then drop the cells into the ground in four or five weeks. The trays will degrade and you will have some early salad. The potato season is in full swing and whilst it is still too early to set them in open ground, covered or raised in pots though they are worth a go. If you have a bit of protection or a window sill space, then you can also start off a few hardy annuals, Calendula, Carnations, Sweet Williams and Pansies can all be started now. They want very light covering with compost to encourage germination and a bit of polythene across trays will accelerate the process, though you must maintain a daily watch. The seedlings move quickly from sprouting to romping and they are a pain to transplant once they become leggy. If you fancy Antirrhinums then they too can be sown,but don’t cover the seed with compost instead lightly pat them to have them adhering to the compost lightly water and again pop over a bit of polythene.
And finally if all of this weather is frustrating you, grab a packet of Nigella, a packet of cornflower, some Californian poppies and Larkspur, mix them all up together and sprinkle them into a border that is not going to be fussed over this spring.