Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Note bene, folks!

If you want an exciting brown envelope of seeds (and because I can't resist chucking stuff in envelopes probably tea, stickers, cartoons and whatever I have lying around), you'll have to send me some contact details to:
For alas, the only psychic powers I possess are knowing when my cats want feeding (and, lets be honest, that's mostly down to the meowing)

This offer is open to anyone anywhere, and I promise it will not come back to bite you in the arse.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Brown Envelopes

I always forget how much I like February. It's the weirdest word too, with that little r that skulks around in there, presumably Up To No Good. The name February comes from the Latin februum (purification) & the Roman festival of februa or Ritual Purification (which became part of the Lupercalia festival, which was the same sort of thing, but with more nudity & whacking people with thongs).
But February is the month where you start to feel the wheel of the year turning again. The long nights are coming to an end, and the weather is starting to warm up. The electric blanket & hot water bottles are being folded up & packed away until Autumn.
February is also the month when you can actually start opening packets of seeds (mostly tomatoes, chillis, peppers & aubergines, which get sown into seed trays of fine compost & tucked up in a heated propagator, or wrapped in plastic & put on the shelf in the boiler room). And potatoes start appearing in the garden centres & shops, all ready for chitting (there's more spud info in one of my old posts here).

It's the month where the earth seems to be holding her breath & taking it all in, the long year ahead, the first green shoots poking out of the earth to the ripe fruits hanging heavy on the boughs.
Holding her breath & taking it all in, in the moments before it all begins.
And I am holding my breath too. A little impatient, a little restless, waiting for all the world to be green again.

So I pack up seeds in brown envelopes, and give them to anyone who'll have them. Because brown envelopes usually only contain bad news & bills.

So if you want a brown envelope, post a comment (and if there's anything you can't grow, or you don't have much space for growing, let me know, or you'll probably end up with some sort of Jurassic kale of monstrous sunflower. If you want a surprise, or you'd like something in particular (y'know, courgette, wildflowers etc) say so. It never hurts to ask. If you're too shy to post, you can send me an email instead.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Skip to the End

Littlefox, littlefox, where have you been?
Well, not to London, and not to see the Queen either. I've been making the most of the mild (meaning; just above freezing, occasionally into the giddy heights of 4°C) weather by doing ground work in the garden. January & February are usually the best times to do laborious jobs like digging over beds, path laying & site clearance, before March & the sudden tidal wave of seeds to be sown, pricked out & potted on, potatoes to chit, plant out & shore up, cuttings, prunings & propagation's and let us not forget the endless bloody weeding.
It took a solid week of digging, put I managed to pull up 3 concrete fence posts, and the lumps of cement they were embedded in, which were added to the big pile of rubble I had unearthed from the garden in the autumn.
Then I got myself a 5 cubic yard skip. Woo!

For those of you not in the UK, I don't mean the method of getting about by repeatedly almost falling over that is so popular with small girls, or skipping rope, which is also popular with small girls (and, a little unsettlingly, wrestlers*), I'm on about skips, large metals containers that you hire out & fill with rubbish (usually from house renovations, but occasionally from moving bloody great piles of crap from the garden), which then get taken away, and the contents sorted through & recycled (the contents of my skip will become hard core, and used in the foundations of a road or building somewhere in Lincolnshire, which is a better use than sitting in a heap in my garden where I'd rather have a few fruit trees).
The cleared ground then got dug over & all the nettle roots removed, and is all ready for the chickenproof fence to go up, which will have an edible hedge planted in front of that (more on the edible hedge another time). There's still a fair amount of clearing to do, and no doubt plenty more rubble just under the soil (along with more nettles), but it feels like less of an impossible task.

I'd say that it will be done by the end of the month, but there's nothing like announcing your plans to make the gods start gut-laughing (and send rain. Lots of rain).
Then there's the path to lay down, and Tomato Mile needs digging over, and ten thousand other things to do before spring finally gets here. But for now there's 5 cubic yards less of problematic crap in my garden, and seed potatoes to be chitted.
Small pleasures, my friends. They're what makes the world worth all that spinning.

*Though it's not certain whether wrestlers also sing about teddy bears going upstairs.