Make Do and Mend

At last the polytunnel has been repaired and we’re ready to garden again. After being exposed to the elements for two months a major clean-up was required. This mainly involved shovelling up sand and wind-blown debris, fortunately the local starling flock preferred the warmth of my neighbours cow shed as a roost. The accumulation of assorted pots, containers, labels and old bamboo poles was ruthlessly sorted along with the bits and pieces of junk which “might be useful one day” but never are. The polytunnel has not looked so clean and organised for more years than I care to admit to. So with a new propagator, lids for trays and a big envelope of new seeds I am all set to start gardening again.
Unfortunately none of my winter crops survived, apart from a few sad-looking carrots and some parsley. So this year the “hungry gap” is going to be longer and leaner than usual. My first sowings of mizuna, radish, winter salad leaves and winter purslane have germinated but it will be a while before I can even think about feasting on micro-leaves, never mind a green salad. It will be even longer before the baby spinach is ready and not much hope of some beetroot or fennel until June. However, anticipation is everything and I promise not to complain about a glut of anything due to my over enthusiastic sowing of everything at once.

cottage herbery

Most of my over-wintering herbs were only fit for the compost, and the surviving six very small sage plants and a rosemary are not going to have much impact in the herb garden. So my plans for introducing some discipline and order into the cottage herbery are in abeyance. Once again it will be a riotous assembly of chives, fennel, mint and buckler-leaved sorrel with self-sown Calendula, nasturtiums, and borage fighting it out with the fennel and caraway.  Perhaps a beautifully arranged physic garden would not be quite right for the cottage garden where the main design feature is plant anarchy. The herbaceous plants and bulbs were nearly all rescued, and whilst some look a little the worse for wear, after a period of intensive care they will eventually be moved into the borders or containers. The Agapanthus look a little sulky, but the scented-leaved pelargoniums are already producing flower buds and enough shoots to enable me to take cuttings. Alas the salvias joined the herbs in the compost.
There is definitely no procrastination in the garden and all this hyper-activity will doubtless result in the predictable logjam of seedlings waiting to be potted on and young plants needing to be hardened-off. Our ancient cold frames have also been repaired which will provide some additional space, provided of course I don’t buy any more seeds.

14 thoughts on “Make Do and Mend

  1. Busy, and exciting time of year!

    • After the winter I love the insane hyperactivity of March and April. I’m like a child in a sweet shop when the seed catalogues arrive and still get excited when the first seeds atart to germinate.

  2. I so envy you that view. It must be the best polytunnel view in the whole country.

    • Before the tunnel was repaired the whole of the west end was open, not good for the plants, but what a spectacular sea view. The repair men actually suggested replacing one of the end panels with a window.
      I was almost tempted!

  3. You are going to have some wonderful compost when it has all rotted down!! 🙂 You have (both) worked hard though and despite having to tighten your belts due to winter losses I trust you feel some satisfaction in lots of jobs well done…

    • Thnak you Cathy. I never think of gardening as hard work, although my ageing joints often think otherwise. The waistline won’t come to any harm from a bit of belt tightening and the best way to look at adversity os an opportunity to start again. Oh dear, Pollyanna is at it again!

      • Likewise with me – I wonder if a time will come when we DO think of it as hard work… Oh, and let me know if you need a smaller belt and I’ll see what I can find, as you rejected the offer of a food parcel last time 😉

        • After some wonderful weather and two long day in the garden my aching bones remind me that it doesn’t get any easier. However Pollyanna insist no pain no gain. Would you like to trade the wretched Pollyanna for a fod parcel? I’m thinking of putting her up for adoption.

          • Oh no, I couldn’t possibly – you would miss her dreadfully … 😉 I could send you something relaxing to put in your bath to ease your aching bones instead, although you are probably too busy in the garden to waste time in the bath

          • Soaking in the bath means I can get out of bed the next morning!

  4. Hi, I’m back for another visit. Your polytunnel looks wonderfully substantial but obviously not strong enough. I live in a windy place but when I am complaining about it I will now think of you and my own inner Pollyanna will kick in! We are quite exposed on the edge of the Mendip Hills in Somerset. I have been the proud owner of a tunnel for about a year and a half. We constructed it ourselves so I’m very pleased to find it still in place after every strong wind. Good luck with all the seeds. I am almost overun with seedlings here already.

    • We survive most things, but things get tricky when the winds get over 90 mph. We think most of our damage is done by UFOs (probably fishboxes) and once the plastic is torn and the wind gets in you just hope. However, we’re up and running again, a bit late with with more daylight and a little warmth the seeds are getting going.
      We couldn’t manage without our polytunnel and I’m sure you feel the same, even if it causes seedling chaos.

  5. You would laugh at our wind then and think it was a gently breeze. I often start seedlings off too early so you will do fine starting now. They just grow faster. My tunnel is a huge bonus and means year long crops and fewer pests and damage but yours must be essential. I look forward to seeing it full.

    • It’s all relative, you’d laught at my 20C tropical heat wave. I couldn’t manage without my tunnel, not only does it extend our very short growing season and give me somewhere to garden when its raining, it is also a sanity refuge.
      I also had a technical failure earlier when trying to find your blog (usual Google and WordPress mismatch) but I’ve found you now, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of your lovely flower arrangements and your polytunnel.

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