Sowing, Growing, Mowing

Buds on the Lark Ascending Rose

Buds appearing on the Lark Ascending rose

The sun came out for the first time in what feels like an aeon. The last time it properly showed its face, I was in the office and effectively missed it. It seems though that we’ve finally got over that hump, and we’re well on our way to Spring. I can’t tell you how much happier it’s all making me feel.

I’m still not sure about whether I can kick start the growing properly; temperatures are down overnight, and I’m still having to break the ice in the bird baths in the morning, so I think the soil needs a good fortnight to start warming up properly before I start sowing directly. Having watched Gardener’s World on Friday night, I took Monty’s advice and instead of playing a waiting game and risking losing any more of my onion sets, I decided to plant them into seed modules with compost, and let them begin rooting. I shoved the garlic in too, for good measure. Until we get some mini polytunnels set up, I’m not playing poke-the-garlic-in-pull-it-out-again with the woodpigeons.

red baron onion sets in seed modules

I bought the Red Baron onion sets from my local Gardener’s Association back at the beginning of March (or was it late February?), but they’ve had to stay put in their paper bags. This means many of the sets have gone soft and are useless, but I managed to “sow” about 70% of them. There were a few which were on the verge, but I always seem to be championing the underdog, so I thought I’d at least give them a chance.

I also found a bag of alliums that I’d bought at the beginning of March too. I think at that point I was desperate to just buy something that would make me feel as though spring was upon us. But these little guys had already begun to sprout, so I popped them in the seed trays too until I’ve prepared the patch where they’re going to planted. To be honest, I don’t think the alliums need much – they prefer well-draining soil, and will even thrive in poor soil, but I think ours is virtually sand in some places and I wonder whether it’d be pushing it to expect them to do anything there. I have a couple of Purple Sensation alliums to go in too – can’t wait to see them flower and the bees and pollinators to come knocking.

close up of a dead seed head

So although I’ve been sowing in earnest, there’s still not a lot to show. Spring is more than fashionably late this year (we only did our first little bit of mowing yesterday), but it doesn’t mean that I can rest on my laurels. There is just so much to do – clearing, weeding, soil preparation, ripping up brambles and bindweed. Every year it’s like starting from scratch, but this year, it’s all about progress. I’m more determined than ever to make it work – even if that means just turning one corner into my self-sufficient, wildlife-friendly Smallest Smallholding vision – and for now I’m just sowing the seeds of what I hope will be a successful season of sowing, growing and mowing.


  1. Fascinating and lovely to read. Your garlic and wood-pigeon comment above nearly had me off my chair! My sister is getting a big polytunnel for the bottom of her garden to win the weather game! Love this blog – Alison

    • Thanks for the comment 🙂 I am currently in the process of looking out for a commercial-grade polytunnel (but domestic size) so we can extend our growing season, and not have to play games with the local wildlife too! I’d love to grow peppers, chillies and sweet potatoes with greater success. Just need a couple of thousand and I’ll be off… !

  2. I think I will try that with onions as well – I sowed some at the allotment in autumn but there are so many gaps where they have just completely disappeared. Lots of broad bean gaps to fill as well. I also have a bindweed / bramble battle going on, hard isn’t it.

  3. Lovely blog and great pics- hope your onion sets have nice green shoots now ( mine were sown directly in the ground & some have been eaten by birds) There is suddenly loads to do in the garden- bet you are busy!
    Suzie x

    • Thank you Suzie! My onions are indeed shooting like mad… in fact, I think they’re a little *too* warm in the conservatory now, but I should be able to plant them out very soon. Just need to get hold of some fleece polytunnels this weekend to make sure the woodpigeons don’t get any bright ideas 😉