Nature’s cycle

chilli seedling

In the great eternal relay race of nature, we are at a point of the baton being faithfully handed over to the next generation. Last years old growth has died back, providing nutrients for the tender new shoots that are starting to emerge and take their place. In the vegetable grower’s year, it’s that cross-over point between using up the overwintered crops, or those stored over winter, while starting afresh with new seeds and new plans and dreams for the year ahead.

It’s not quite the ‘hungry gap’, that’s another few weeks off yet, but it’s on the horizon, and through experienced eyes, I can see it approaching fast. I still don’t know how to avoid it though, it’s just a good job I don’t live on a remote island or in the Middle Ages.

last garlic plait

I’m down to the last string of garlic which should see me through till Easter, so long as it doesn’t start sprouting. We’re getting through the last of the potato stock which IS sprouting, despite being stored in a very cold shed, so I’ll have to use them up very soon. The freezer is a little more roomy these days, I’ve been working my way through sweetcorn and carrots, and bags of frozen rhubarb and raspberries were made into jam after I realised I’d given all of my jam away at Christmas! We dug up what was left in the leek bed at the weekend. They’re were the smallest leeks ever, but still tasty, and I think the Brussel Sprouts have given us all they can, there’s only slug fodder left.

So I still have kale! Not my favourite thing, but it does make very nice soup. One of the purple sprouting broccoli plants went down in the strong winds, but I have another 2 that are (so far) holding firm and pushing out tight budded stems for me to snaffle before they can flower. There are also a few parsnips down there … somewhere … in the mud … I just have to find them first.

chitting spuds goofy spuds chitting

Potatoes are chitting (and looking happy about it with their goofy, toothy faces – see?). The leek seedling are coming on well. I’ve sown a few varieties of chillies, some home saved Ring of Fire (first one has just germinated) some Lemon Drop (no show so far) and a few seeds saved from a shop bought Birds Eye chilli (as an experiment) which have gone berserk and germinated en masse. The sweetpeas are also starting to show their little green heads (see below), and I’ve sown some lettuce (red and green romaines) and some mini sweet peppers.

sweetpea shoot leek shoots

I also noticed a pot of rocket has self-seeded in a sheltered spot of the garden, so at least I’ll have a few greens to pick soon.

And so the cycle keeps turning.

4 comments

  1. Wow! You are off to a flying start. I haven’t begun yet, but my excuse is that I don’t have a greenhouse and in previous years I have found that seedlings grow too long and leggy on a windowsill. Your little trays of mini ‘plantlets’ look great.

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    • Thanks annjenny, I only start with those crops that need a long growing time, I find chillies need to be started early to give them enough time to ripen as they’re slow to germinate and get going. Also those crops that are pretty hardy in colder months such as lettuce, leeks and peas. They all get maximum light in my lean-to conservatory. I am often surprised at how early others start with sowing certain seeds, I’m not sure it’s always a good idea. Most later sowings catch up fine, and are stronger for it, so I do try and hold fire.

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