Stuck in the Potting Shed

Since my last diary entry the weather has not been particularly good for plotting. Although we’ve not seen any of the snow that the rest of the country seems to have suffered, it’s still been pretty cold with a few windy days as well.

I did manage to get some more digging over done, I can’t believe how far behind I am again, despite promising myself to take time out for the plot. I’d hoped to have run the rotovator over at the weekend but it was Easter and family commitments took priority.

My daughter was over, which was lovely. Her comment on my book took the biscuit – “I can phone you when I need to know something”. Oh well. She spent a bit of time researching chickens, which she’s going to keep in her back garden. She’s torn between a couple of ex-battery hens and some fancy black rocks. Her cats are both rescues, so I suppose she has contributed to animal welfare already.

Monday I did manage some time in the potting shed. Boy it was cold in there, even with the door shut. My cat assisted me in the process, ensuring I wasn’t attacked by any hidden mice in there. Unfortunately there was some confusion due to the similar appearance of a seed tray and a cat litter tray but I explained this before the deed was done.

Last year I had the paraffin heaters going in the greenhouse at home but this year we’re being more energy conscious. Seeds that require warm temperatures like tomatoes and peppers are in the lounge on the racking in front of the patio doors. Seeds that do not need much warmth like leeks and onions are in the unheated front bedroom along with the potatoes that are chitting nicely.

It may seem strange using rooms in the house, but why not? They’re not in the way and the spare bedroom may as well be useful.

I mentioned that Easter is the traditional planting time for potatoes, although I did hear St Patrick’s day mentioned on the radio, which I think is too early by far for those living north of the home counties. This movable Easter feast has fallen early this year and nature has rubbed in the message by treating us to snow. Apparently snow is more likely at Easter than Christmas Day, which surprised me.

Anyway, when the weather warms a little is the time to start getting things planted out and sown into the grown. Many crops, like onions, depend on day length to some degree but temperature is important.

My parsnips definitely do better for being sown late into warmer ground rather than freezing wet ground in February. Many seeds just won’t germinate until the soil temperature rises beyond 8 degrees.

The traditional test of soil temperature is to plant your bare bottom onto the ground. Since this can result in embarrassment or arrest, an elbow will do the job or better still a soil thermometer.

Anyway, the weather doesn’t seem set fair for a while so the potting shed will have to do.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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