Springing into life 2018

Today is the vernal equinox – the first day of ‘astronomical’ spring. Despite the late snow here in the UK, spring has arrived with glorious sunshine and I have been busy potting up some of the plants that have grown from the seeds I sowed back in January. As with all seed sowing there have been successes and failures – and a minor slug invasion at germination time did for a few of the seedlings. The loofah seeds have not germinated and neither have some of the varieties of chilli, but I have not given up hope yet and I they may eventually appear.

I sowed generous amounts of parsley seed because it is notoriously fickle when it comes to germination. It appears that every single seed, however, has produced a plant, so I will be able to share these with my local friends (a particular pleasure when it comes to gardening). Last year I planted another unreliable germinator – lemon grass. Again, I was swamped with plants and gave lots away. Since it grows to quite a size, I only retained three plants for myself and these have been happy in the limery over the winter. Today they have been transplanted to larger pots and I’m looking forward to fresh, home-grown lemongrass in my cooking for the first time this year.

A few weeks ago, before things in the limery had actively started to grow, I decided to divide some of my carnivores. This was a little nerve-wracking as I’ve never done it before and I was not sure how they would respond. Several weeks down the line, however, I’m happy to report that they seem to be thriving, and there are lots of new pitchers (for the Sarracenias) and sticky leaves (for the Droseras). Several of these plants are destined for a friend who lives locally, so I’m delighted that the operation has been so successful. The tatty old pitchers from last year (or even the year before) look very sad compared to the vigorous new ones. The plants that I didn’t split are also springing back into life and it looks like flies are going to have a very hard time if they come into the limery this year.

There’s still more potting up to do and plenty of new seeds to sow later on in the week. I love harvesting, but the promise of abundance at this time of year really does lift my spirits.

Peppers and chillies and limes – oh my!

Apart from putting the mosaics up, the inside of the limery is complete. All the plants that have been struggling along outside during our less-than-reliable summer weather are potted up and basking in the balmy conditions inside. Somehow I’ve ended up with many more chilli plants than I need and rather fewer pepper plants than I had hoped for, but everything got rather random earlier in the year and so it’s a bit of a miracle that there’s anything at all in there that I grew from seed!

So, for your delight and delectation, here is the limery with it’s current plant population – not very diverse, but exciting nonetheless:

Ends and beginnings

Finally, we have come to the end of last year’s potato harvest… not bad for such a small space. This is all that’s left:

Just a few little Mira and Milva in the bottom of the last box

Just a few little Mira and Milva in the bottom of the last box

I think I might plant them and see what they can produce!

Thank you farmers!

Thank you farmers!

Of course, having money and living where we do, the end of our own crop does not mean that we have nothing left to eat: a trip to our local organic shop replenished our stock of potatoes. It does make me think, though, of people who do have to be self-reliant and the challenges they must face in providing for their families throughout the year. Big thanks to our local farmers for ensuring that we can continue to eat. The gap between now and our own new potatoes being ready to eat is only a few months, but it would be long enough to starve in.

Ready for potting up

Ready for potting up

Today, however, is also a day for moving another crop forwards. The peppers and chillies are now ready to be potted up and moved out of the propagator. Tomorrow, we will take some of them over to my sister for her to grow on in her lovely new garden, complete with greenhouse. We’ll also be taking her some chitted potatoes so that she can plant them out in her newly prepared beds. I do love this time of year for its new beginnings.

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