Greenhouse Day (383)

by Max Akroyd

Yesterday morning’s frost turned out to be quite an event. It obliterated all my potatoes. Every single one of the two hundred plants now resembles a limp, dark seaweed.

Surprisingly, in the intervening time, this hasn’t felt as bad as it might: because the frost wasn’t forecast I can’t claim I would have fleeced them even if I had any fleece. I’d done my best with the crop and if the weather decided to take it, what’s a man to do?  At least it wasn’t next year, if you see what I mean.

Fortunately, potatoes were the only frost-tender things out on the field, the rest were still lurking in the ‘greenshed’ in pots where the short, sharp blast of May frost missed them. Or they’re still in the seed packets. Hitherto it’s been difficult to eke out enough sensible time in a day to sow comprehensively. So I resolved to devote today entirely to greenhouse work. To sowing and potting on and generally (re)building the garden’s future.



I’m noticing more and more that, even on the modest scale of this operation, the sowings and plantings out want to organise themselves into big phases. It’s a bit production line-like but this seems to be the only way my brain can organise it. The brassicas are a good example of this unmagical mental mapping in action. Starting with October sowings which get planted out in February, the next phase is the February sowings planted out in April and I’m now in the flurry of pak chois, cabbages and brocollis which comprise May’s efforts. Everything pegged, parcelled and organised. Good job the eating bit is pure abandon.

Having pricked out and potted on hundreds of brassicas the focus fell on sweet corns and pumpkins. Packet after packet. If summer ever arrives I intend to soak up those rays with a thousand sweet crops to avenge the one I lost yesterday. If those potatoes don’t recover at least I’ll have plenty of vacant bed space!