Sunday, March 24, 2013

23rd March 2013 - not missing in action

Well dear, dedicated readers, I am not missing in action, I am still here, in cyber gardening space.  2012 was a dreadful year on my allotment, and I know I am not alone, I know many gardeners and farmers suffered thanks to constant rainfall.  I mananged to harvest a handfull of squash, runner beans, peas and lettuces.  The tomatoes got blight very early in the season, the spuds all rotted in the ground, as did the onions and garlics.  The brassicas tried hard but just sat in cold, wet ground.  We managed to get some loose leaves from kales, spinach and chard but even they weren't keen to grow very fast.

On the livestock front, Mr fox once again decimated our quail family, even after some serious reinforcements, so we made the decision to give up with our feathery friends.  We still have our three tortoises, Tom and Bertha who are in hibernation, and Travis who spends winter indoors under a heat lamp, Leccy, our Bearded Dragon, Crystal, our Corn Snake, two rabbits and one lone guinea.  We have however added to our brood and we are now the proud parents of a 19 week old black labrador, who I am totally besotted with.  In fact, he is lying next to me now, snoring and twitching, no doubt dreaming of running through the woods, chasing squirrels.

So, the gardening year of 2013 has begun, and already it is starting on the wrong foot. Here in Essex we are still waterlogged and seem to be under almost constant snow.  Yet again this weekend we awoke to a covering of the white stuff.  I looked back to this time last year, one of my last posts, and I was harvesting rhubarb and caulis and had so many things growing already.  This year, the rhubarb hasn't even poked it's nose out of the ground and I am having to start everything off in the greenhouse, conservatory and on windowsills.

I have plenty of tomatoes germinated and potted on, I also have a tray of young lupins potted on and a tray of cowslips that need pricking out.  My penstemen cuttings have survived the winter but my pelargonium cuttings didn't.

I am waiting for chillis, aubergines, various herbs and flowers, brassicas and squashes to germinate.  I have sown some cut and come again salad in a trough in the greenhouse, and the same with baby carrots to see if I can get a harvest whilst I wait for the allotment to warm up.  I have also planted 80 onion sets into cell trays to get them started as my Japanese onions have all rotted in the ground on the plot.  Still have masses to sow, but I need to make some shelves up for the greenhouse as I have no room left for anymore trays.

So, my first post for a year, and I hope this year will be better than last so I can enjoy working on the plot and blogging all about our muddy adventures.