I started this blog when the snow was on the ground and now the weather has become more mild and the snow has been replaced by rain!
The subtle shift in the weather and the light, even though it is still officially winter, has set my mind to growing. I have been in hibernation mode for the last two months. Partly because that is what winter is for and partly imposed on me by the dreaded virus. Two months of prolonged symptoms and I am finally coming out the other side. The sap is slowly rising and it feels like there is so much to do before the growing season really gets going. Pruning my vine and wisteria come to mind.
And this is the thing. Around about now most years I start to get itchy fingers and question whether I have enough potting compost, and are the pots actually clean, and did I really order seeds in the late autumn, and where are they if I did?
In years gone by I would have rushed ahead and started to plant these precious miracles and find myself with a kitchen full of leggy seedlings cluttering the floor, being sniffed at by the cat who no doubt would have trodden on a pot, the tell tale paw mark in the squashed compost, because it is too cold and wet to put them outside.
But you see, apart from a very few seeds that need a long growing season, tomatoes and chillis come to mind, everything else can still wait. As the organic gardening guru Charles Dowding said yesterday planting times are a matter of common sense and also reliant on where you are in the country. As you know, I live in London and the weather is much warmer in my urban garden than if you live 30 miles up the M1 say in St Albans, or my childhood village of Redbourn, where the temperature can be 4 or 5 degrees colder and even more so at night.
Remember we can still get very cold weather in March and April so hold your horses with the seed growing for a few more weeks. They will always catch up when the weather turns warm and your seedlings will be stronger and more able to cope with what the weather throws at them than if they are 4cm tall with two tiny leaves on the top.
Mind you if you are desperate to get going, then why not start a few chillis or tomatoes in pots and when they have sprouted put them on a warm sunny window shelf and you will be able to pot them on and plant them out when spring is truly upon us!