January update

It’s been a much colder winter this year, and more has been damaged  by the frost. Even the forecasters were caught flat-footed! It was far colder than the temperatures predicted – and on the week of the 18th we had days where it did not get above 0 during the day.
It was also very dry and that makes it worse for the garden. There were days when digging up carrots was an impossible task in frozen ground!  On the plus side, I am thrilled to still be eating from the garden in spite of the weather; carrots, parsnips, leeks and beetroot have survived without a problem.  I am impressed with the size and flavour of Carrots Nantaise
Tuscan Kale (Calvolo Nero) continues to produce tasty new leaves – great in soup, but also sautéed with bacon and a little white wine. img_7262
Red spinach (rode snijbeet), lettuce and coriander are also fine, but for the first year my parsley has taken a knock. I think this is more to do with the dryness than the cold, so I have cut it back hard and hope it comes back.

We are still picking Brussels sprouts, and the last of the broccoli. img_7271
Red cabbage planted at the end of autumn seems to be coping.  It will be interesting to see if it forms good heads.img_7264
Garlic is looking good.  Interesting that the white garlic (foreground) is much slower to germinate than the purple even though they were planted at the same time. Onions from sets/ bulbs are slowly starting to germinate, but the Red Tuscan onions from seed (very successful last winter) have been killed off by the cold.

The same applies to broad beans and peas. Both did well last winter and were great producers in very early spring. This year the broad beans have been very slow – but are surviving…

But the peas are not going to make it 😦img_7261
Celery and fennel have not coped in the cold, but I will leave them in to see if they re-sprout when it warms up. img_7270
This time of year I find it hard to be patient. My fingers are itching to plant again and I spend hours scanning through seed catalogues.  My orders have been dispatched and should arrive soon, but it’s going to be a while before I can sow any seeds.  In the meantime all I can do is keep preparing the soil by spreading manure – that is, when the manure is defrosted sufficiently for me to get then fork in easily!!img_7267


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