Thursday, 5 February 2015

PANIC ... and breathe

Posted by Rosie

I had a bit of a panic a couple of days ago.  Everywhere I looked people seemed to be getting on with gardening things and I wasn't.  Friends were sowing seeds, people of a forum I visit were chitting potatoes, there were pictures of spring flowers bursting forth on my Facebook feed and seed packets I looked at mentioned January and February sowings.  
And me?  

What was I doing?

Nothing like this.  

PANIC.  

Was I getting left behind?

On Tuesday, however, we woke up to this view and I realised it is only early February and whilst I do still have a lot to be doing, I am nowhere near missing the gardening boat ... and breathe!

February snow at Eco-Gites of Lenault

Snowy fields and veg garden at Eco-Gites of Lenault

Vegetable garden under snow

You might think that because I have a polytunnel I can start off the likes of tomatoes in January for a super early crop.  Well I could if I had both a heated propagator (which I don't) and I heated the polytunnel (which I don't). The polytunnel will often be as cold as outside, and sometimes can be colder, due to some weird temperature inversion going on, however what it does do is allow it to warm up quicker in the morning, and cool down slower in the evening.  It will also keep the temperature above freezing when there is only a slight frost and will protect plants from biting winter winds and cold rain.  Snow also has an insulating effect and so when the polytunnel is covered in snow like this week, it will actually be a bit warmer in there.  But nowhere near warm enough yet to be sowing tender crops.

Polytunnel under snow

I do, however, have some hardy things plodding along nicely.  The autumn sown onions may be smaller than in previous years at this time, as I lost them when I should have been planting and ended up sowing them much later than normal.  When temperatures does creep up a bit they will soon put on growth and should catch up.

Early onions

Likewise the autumn sown chard is probably too small to get much of a meal off yet but in a month or so we should be having plenty of leaves to cut for salads, stir-fries and suchlike.

Chard

What I do not have at the moment, though, is any peas, broad beans or mangetout.  I sowed all of them and the flippin' mice have scoffed all the seeds. ALL OF THEM.  I thought that by planting extras along the rows I'd be OK but it seems mouse numbers are very high this year, no doubt after the mild winter last year and what better place to reside this winter than a dry polytunnel with a seed buffet laid on?  In fairness Foggy the Moggy has been in the polytunnel so I hope he has caught some but I was less than impressed seeing him SITTING on top of the polytunnel.  No photo I'm afraid as I was too busy racing across from the house yelling at him like a demented gardening woman. Oh, hang on a minute, I was a demented gardening woman!

So are you racing ahead and have your potatoes chitting and your tomatoes sown or are you taking the more leisurely approach to things like me?  You could also head over to Annie's How Does Your garden Grow linky and see what other gardener's are up to.

Simple Wanderlust

16 comments :

  1. So I'm going to be reading and watching when you can start planting (and take notes in hope of a future veg garden!) Now how are you going to get Foggy the Moggy to prowl the rows inside the polytunnel?

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    1. Oh, no pressure to get things right then LOL. As for Foggy, I think I may have scared him off as he's not been back but I did see his sister Fumée in the veg garden this week.

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  2. Heh heh you must be chitting yourself! *sorry*

    If it helps I'm hanging my head in shame...

    Damn those mice and naughty Foggy the Moggy. I hope you aren't too stressed out, you are going to go off like a horticultural rocket when that snow goes!

    Thanks for joining in again sausage x

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    1. I am pleased to say that I now have my potatoes chitting and the rocket fuse may just have been lit ....

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  3. I felt exactly the same, I am not ready to be sowing seeds it will be a few more weeks until it is warm enough for me. I do have some potatoes chatting though, will be March before I plant them I think

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  4. Ah, those pesky mice and I'm afraid I smiled at the image of the cat sitting on top of the polytunnel-how very cat like! I have lots of seed packs ready and waiting, but it needs to warm up a bit first as I've not much room for indoor sowing.

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    1. Likewise I have very little indoor space but Simon is going to rig something up in the loft room so hopefully I can get things started and then they may be safe from the mice (fingers crossed).

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  5. I will have a polytunnel one day! I haven't started doing much yet in the garden yet this year but I know Spring will be here before I know it. I was reading this morning that you can soak seeds in certain substances and the smell will deter rodents. I'm afraid I can't remember what it was or where I read it (unhelpful I know), but perhaps it's something that might be worth looking in to.

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    1. I remember hearing something like that too, Gemma and I need to investigate more. Thanks for the reminder.

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  6. Oh what pesky mice!
    I think it's easy to feel left behind, but as you say it is only February!

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    1. But everything seems much more advanced around you, Amanda.

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  7. Awww you are the most amazing gardener I know! Dont panic! The snow made everything so pretty in your garden. Green and white and grays!

    Also I will join your animal linky in the next weeks. Its just that my sister is busy at the moment as our cats gave birth and she cant give me the photos that I need.

    #hdygg

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    1. Thank you, kind words but I am not sure I am really worthy of them.

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  8. I've not started anything yet but this post has reminded me that I do have a propagator - it was a birthday present from my in laws but at the end of May I didn't get to use it! I'll have to dig it out and check it out so thanks for the reminder! :). And would have loved to have seen you shouting at the cat on the poly tunnel! #hdygg

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    1. Foggy has not been anywhere near the garden since so my yelling must have been effective. If only it had also scared away the mice ...

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