The First Day of Spring

From my childhood spring began for me on the 1st day of February, St. Brigid’s Day, but it seems that spring 2018 began today, Tuesday 20th March, at 4.15p.m. While I might argue for old and traditional dates I couldn’t deny that today was the first day this year when the weather was truly spring-like.

We seem to have had an unending winter where storm followed storm, seemingly unending cold and wet days and, of course, The Beast from the East with unprecedented snowfall – twice! There was a feeling that the misery would never end so that today’s sudden and unexpected wonderful weather was all the more enjoyed.

With a certain “carpe diem” attitude we were out in the garden early this morning  and remained there until five this afternoon, a full day and certainly the longest we had spent in the garden for quite a while. There were a number of jobs which had been on hold and needed immediate attention. The chatted potatoes were a priority – British Queens, a second early variety and a favourite with us – needed to be sown as did broad beans which we would normally sow in autumn but hadn’t got round to at the time. The kale had been stripped by pigeons during the cold weather and early sprouting broccoli had also attracted them though not to the same extent. I removed the kale and put netting over the broccoli and we will be enjoying it within a fortnight, I imagine.

I spent the afternoon on light jobs: moving some snowdrops and re-potting erythronium, trillium, gladiolus and lily plants which were in their second year and needed fresh compost and space to grow – and I took a few minutes to take some photographs.

Veg patch
The vegetable garden – site of a very pleasant morning’s work
Potatoes (2)
Potatoes, chitted and ready to be sown
Potatoes (1)
A raised bed covered in black plastic with holes cut to allow the sowing of potatoes. Growing under plastic means I don’t have to “earth up” the potatoes as they grow.
Broad bean cover
Another section of potatoes under black plastic and fleece to give the broad beans some protection and a little extra heat to help germination. I usually sow broad beans in autumn and have them harvested before they are targeted by blackfly, the common pest of broad beans sown in spring.
Brocolli (2)
Purple sprouting broccoli – note the top foliage has been eaten by pigeons.
Brocolli (1)
Purple sprouting broccoli now covered by netting to protect it from pigeons.
Garlic (1)
Elsewhere in the vegetable garden autumn sown garlic is growing well.
Rhubarb (1)
Rhubarb is into growth, responding to a few warm days.
Rhubarb (2)
I cover a few rhubarb crowns each year to force them into early growth so as to have rhubarb earlier in the season.
Rhubarb (4)
A peep under the bins shows that the tender pink stems which are ready to be eaten.
My companion in the garden who approaches in hopes of being fed.




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