Seed Buying Spree

Clematis buds

Already we have buds and shoots appearing – just. On the rare milder days there is the distinct smell of spring wafting on the breeze – that barely there but palpable earthy, warm tone. I think it’s time to start sowing some seeds.

One of my local garden centres has a deal on at the moment – all Suttons and Thompson and Morgan seeds are half price until the end of January. So it’s pretty safe to say that I’ve already done two trips and saved an absolute fortune on my fruit and veg for this year. This great offer has become even more welcome in light of a phonecall I received a couple of days go. In addition to the plots here at the Smallest Smallholding, I’ve finally managed to land myself a 5 pole allotment plot too!

My family and I tend to share out our surplus vegetables amongst each other, as well as friends of friends. Last year I earned some very welcome extra pennies and pounds from selling surplus Charlotte early potatoes to the villagers of a family friend. The only thing is, with the ‘staple’ vegetables that I like to grow – onions, potatoes and carrots – it doesn’t leave enough space for the other ‘fancier’ veg at the Smallest Smallholding. So the plan is to use the allotment for the slow-growing staple veg, and the smallest smallholding plots for the quicker veg that I need to keep an eye on, and leaving the tried-and-tested varieties and staples to the allotment. Last year Mum had some successes and failures on her smaller plots in her back garden, so I’ve told her that she can have a sizeable stake of my plot too. Mum knows her onions (and other veg) when it comes to vegetable and flower growing, so as well as proving to be a nice way to keep something in the family, I figured having an old (although at 49, Mum will claim ‘less of the old please!’) hand would also be advantageous.

So with my trusty garden planner, I am setting about planning out what goes where, after which vegetable, crop rotations, and all that jazz. I am armed with a plethora of bulging seed packets, of which some are veritable successes from last year and some of which are completely unchartered terrority. To start with I shall be sowing my broad beans (first time), Musselburgh and Porvite leeks, Primo cabbage and even the Black Enorma Aubergines. Next month we’re looking at more leeks (trying to keep as continuous crop as possible throughout the year), more cabbages, Gladiator Parsnips and even some super early carrots going in, if the ground is warm enough. We’ll just have to wait and see, I have the feeling in my bones that there’s some really cold weather still to be had, so I might just hold off for a little longer.

In any case, the hens have been enjoying the temporary break in the rainy weather. After the recent glut of miserable, persistently pissy days, they gathered by the warm sunbaked fence and basked and preened all afternoon. Yoko is still in the throes of her moult (and regrowth), and her sterile EYP seems to be on hold for now, which is great. The egg laying seems to be at its lowest rate yet, despite the very slight increase in daylight hours, but that’s ok. It just means I’ll be baking less cakes…

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