I like the lull in the gardening year that is mid-winter. It gives me an excuse to read and sew. Not that there’s ever really an unproductive time in the garden. Something is always growing somewhere, even if you can’t see it above ground. In our wider garden the spring bulbs are getting ready and I can see buds forming on the trees, which I always find reassuring.
There’s plenty to harvest in the vegetable garden too. I feel I have done no gardening to speak of, but still manage to bring in regular trug-full of spinach, parsnips and some sort of brassica.
The wood pigeons spent most of January working on my sprouting broccoli patch themselves, though. The plants are so strong that the pigeons walk around on top, mowing them – and this despite the fact that I netted the whole patch. So last week we cobbled together a cage. Canes to outline the bed in a rough prism, then wire mesh over the top (1.5 cm holes) and loose netting around the sides so that I can get in later. No birds have been seen there since; I have my fingers crossed for March sprouting stems!
In other news, the rhubarb forcer went on in mid January, a month earlier than last year. Of course, it is covering a different crown than it did last year. My husband reckons we will be starting to harvest this weekend, but we’ll take it slowly.
While we are waiting, we’ve started eating our way through the stores. In the fruit department that means baked rhubarb and raspberry; hot apple and blackberry; and occasionally apple compote with jam or leftover mincemeat. I’ve also discovered the gooseberries at the bottom of the freezer! Stewed gooseberries with elderflower cordial will be next. When your normal dessert is a piece of fruit from the fridge, winter feels like wall-to-wall treat eating.
Finally, I will be getting the seed catalogues out this weekend. We already have our order from Garden Organic, but it’s time to fill in the gaps and plan the new season.
Text and Images (C) Claire @theslowfix A slow food devotee, Claire is constantly searching for new ways to enable us all to live sustainably.
The Slow Food blog welcomes contributions on the topics of Food, Farming and Agriculture. The contents may not entirely match the views of Slow Food, but reflect the journeys of the authors. To write for us please click here