A slow start (489)

by Max Akroyd

Potato Amandine set out for chitting


It was one of those mornings when actually getting my fork into the soil felt like it was never going to happen.

Our three year old has gone off the idea of his mornings in school completely, so I had to put on an elaborate clown-like routine to dispel those tears.  All the animals either needed an extra bit of a mucking out, more straw, more hay, a cuddle (although I draw the line at our big sow) or, mainly, a combination of all four! Then all the seedlings which are hardening off at present had to be lifted out from their frost-free refuge. Then there was time to chat to our lovely gite guests (they’re coming back in May it seems, which makes them even more delightful in my eyes)… almost time for dinner! (That’s the meal in the middle of the day for Yorkshire folk – I hadn’t squandered the whole day).

I did manage to form the celeriac bed: using a draw hoe I made a shallow trench in the bed and filled it with rotted stuff. That should make a good home when they emerge from the greenhouse in March. So, all in all, not much to show for this morning, but I guess that’s what afternoons are for…


In my continued campaign against the reality of winter, I was working in just my long-sleeved shirt this afternoon. Not just my shirt, but you know what I mean. And only for about ten minutes. In between taking layers off and putting them back on again, I completed the second half of yesterday’s bed and decided it would be for celery. Not the impossibly difficult trench sort – which I might dig a trench for later, unless I forget – but the lower quality self-blanching sort.

Despite a gathering wind I also managed to lime and rake over the carrot bed which is now ready for action once the annual weeds arrive and are got rid of.

About every ten metres of bed yielded about a level barrow-load of perennial weeds. Fortunately, I have on site weed digesters and processors with a leg at each corner: mummy and aunty pig. In fact, as I chucked armfuls of the things into their barn, I was very pleased to see the piglets tucking in too.

Finally to the greenhouse to sow more seeds. Quite a moment in the gardening calendar: the first tomatoes and aubergines went in to trays. I’ve decided to take pity on the collards and kales I had hardening off outside in their 3″ pots. They’re still too tiny to go out into the harsh, real world – echoes of our three year old this morning – so I’ve potted them on to make them bigger and sturdier for planting out.


Mustard Green in Snow being potted on