Action stations!

Well, February whizzed by.  I was fully engaged with developing my new business interests and I hardly seemed to have any spare time at all.  I got into the garden a couple of times, one to trim the raspberry canes and to sort out the bed in the corner, cutting back the old growth on the geraniums and Japanese anemones, the other to do compost heaps.

March has started in much the same vein but I spent an hour doing one of the flower beds, digging up old strawberries and also thinning out the forget-me-nots which , as my cousin said when she gave me some of hers, didn’t take long to establish!  I like forget-me-nots for their associations and the traditional air it adds to any garden.  Since my strawberry bed by the patio seems to have crowded out most of the lower-growing herbs I’d planted there, I decided to move or replant them in this bed, which will be my new herb garden.  It was an ornamental blue and purple bed, with a white peony at its centre, but the peony is also a ‘physic’ plant (even if that was the common red peony), so I think turning it into a herb bed will be fine.  It is well sited for good sunshine. The existing Michaelmas daisies, Pasque flowers, scabious and self-sown columbine can all fit in that theme, as can the permanently planted bulbs.  The parsley that has overwintered, lavender and a few remaining strawberries will be augmented with oregano (definitely lost among the other strawberries) and a few others I haven’t decided on yet.

The new herb bed ready for replanting

It will soon be time to start sowing things in earnest.  I sowed a pot of basil and a small tray of peas the other day, the basil to get it started and the peas for pea shoots.  The previous years I’ve been a bit too hasty with my seed sowing and they’ve gone leggy or otherwise got caught by late frosts.  But I’d better start keeping an eye on what needs to be started.

Winter tares with some ribwort plantain in the centre

The green manure, the winter tares, has been a great success for keeping the weeds at bay and also giving my guinea pigs some fresh greens.  I am reluctant to dig it in before the animals have something to replace it, but it must go soon.  Hopefully the overwintering lettuces will recover from the snow.  Maybe I’ll dig the tares in when the peas start shooting.  Or when the piggies start to have grass time more regularly.

Winter lettuce, radicchio and chard with fleece cover at night; kale and broccoli netted at the back

We are threatened with very light rains again this year.  My water butts aren’t full at present, so it’s going to be a hard year for growing.

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