I don’t know about you, my fellow growers, but my (green) fingers are itching to get started again.

Itchy fingers
February 2017

It’s been quite mild for the time of year. Normally January and February are the coldest months of the year, but while I’m writing this (the end of January) it’s nearly 10C! Mind you, we’ve had some hefty snow showers and hard frosts, so maybe the average January temperature will turn out to be, well, average?!

We’ve now harvested and eaten all our fresh vegetables from the garden. There is just overwintering cauliflower (which hopefully produces nice cauliflowers in Spring), garlic and my wheat/oats/spelt bed, which again should give me plenty of grains this Summer (if only I had found the time to finish winnowing and milling last year’s grains! Never mind...). Oh, and I’ve got plenty of overwintering kale in the greenhouse, too, which again should start growing from the end of February onwards, when there is sufficient daylight for them to grow. Basically, we are only eating beans and pulses and tatties now with pickled vegetables, gherkins or piccalilli. We’ve only had to buy carrots and onions so far (we had soft neck rot in our onions, which meant they all rotted before we could eat them). It will be interesting to find out when I have to buy more vegetables next.
If it stays mild, we’ll be able to ‘harvest’ and eat weeds sooner rather than later!

I’ve already sowed my tomatoes, chillies and aubergines. This year I’m going to try and grow fewer plants. Too many plants can lead to problems with pests in the greenhouse, so my hope is that if I give the plants a long enough growing season, they will produce a larger crop and are less likely to be bothered by pests. Some (or maybe all) of the chillies will stay indoors on the window sill this year. Last year (and the year before) I’ve had chillies, but they didn’t ripen in time. My husband really likes his homemade sweet chilli sauce, so I need plenty of the red varieties this year.

Sadly, Houdini and the Hurkies (our short-legged hens) are still locked in because of the recent outbreak of bird flu. One good thing about this, though, is I can now treat them for worms properly (because the water in their coop is the only thing they have to drink!) and I’ve been giving them an extra mineral boost in their food, too, which they seem to enjoy!

So much so, in fact, that one of the hens has even started laying eggs again!

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