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.
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.
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.
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.