If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind? - Percy Bysse Shelly
January. Miserable weather, and the garden is a few (more) rainstorms away from being a bog. However, one can see a distinct improvement in the length of the evenings, and the dark evenings are perfect for perusing the seed catalogues. I whisper the above quote to myself, and know that while the worst of the weather may still be ahead of us, it's time to start planning for the productive year ahead.
So I have placed my orders from Seed Savers (http://www.irishseedsavers.ie/)–
Here’s what I got:
Seed Potatoes: Edzel blue, Simfonia and Tibet. Only 4 of each. I’ll have to cut them up in chunks so that each piece has a eye or two, and chit them in a few weeks. I’ll be growing them in tyres again this year, but I may try a few with a lazy bed method, for the secondary benefit of improving the soil condition. If they work out, I’ll be keeping some of the smaller ones as seeds fro next year, in true seed saver fashion. This will be a first for me, though I have no doubt that my parents were no strangers to doing this.
On the seed front, I got
Auld Sod and aurora tomato, Costata romanesco courgette, Ita Aherns pole bean, Uchiki Kuri Squash, Ragged Jack Kale, Black magic Runner beans, Black Valentine dwarf French beans. I was choosing based on hardiness – growing well outside, and productivity.
You don’t get a whole lot of seeds, but that’s fine with me, usually I end up with seeds past their expiry date. This year I’ll be germinating some seeds for my brother – in exchange for some organic manure. I’ll also be trading with my previous neighbour in Dublin, as in previous years.
So now I need to make a plan for what I’ll be growing, and fill the gaps from the Real Seed company(www.realseeds.co.uk), and from Thompson and Morgan (http://www.thompson-morgan.com/). An interesting product that we’ll be trying out is the spore impregnated dowels, for growing mushrooms.
My trusty assistant is planning to build a new compost heap - recycling some of the fence that blew down before Christmas. We'll replace it with a hazel fence, which will have a number of advantages - less shade in the winter, hazelnuts, hazel rods, wildlife shelter, and windproof.
Things will be getting busy soon!