A present from October 2009 (495)

by Max Akroyd

I wondered why I’d had a revolting cough for five weeks, turns out I have whooping cough. Only another week to go though, according to the doctor. Very clever of me to get something like that in tandem with Christmas and then all that snow, I reckon…

Still, I didn’t think it was a good plan to get soaked through this afternoon so I decided to get things squared off (out of the rain) in the greenhouse. There was a large batch of seedlings in there who’ve been waiting patiently since October: now was the time for their great leap forward. They could go one of three directions. The tough guys – sweet peas, strawberry transplants, collards, kales and mustards – went straight outside to harden off. The cauliflowers, chervil and welsh onions got potted on, and the lettuces, spring onions and tatsoi got planted out in the polytunnel border.

As the pots and trays emptied of seedlings I filled them with compost again and got on with some more sowing, mainly more hardy brassicas. I’ll update this list today if I get the chance…

It was a real pleasure to be working with young plants so early in the winter. I think, in many ways, growing your own food is like a gift from the present you to the future you. This act of integrity feels particularly apposite when the seedlings bridge one calendar year to the next, so I’ll definitely be sowing these unfashionable crops again next October.