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.
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.