Wednesday, December 31, 2008

When Icicles Hang by the Wall

WHEN icicles hang by the wall
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
And milk comes frozen home in pail;
When blood is nipt, and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl
Tu-whit! tu-whoo!
A merry note!
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

When all around the wind doth blow,
And coughing drowns the parson's saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,
And Marian's nose looks red and raw;
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl
Then nightly sings the staring owl
Tu-whit! tu-whoo!
A merry note!
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.....(W Shakespeare, Love's Labour's Lost)

I've spent the last day of the year doing some of the above...

gardenTom wasn't about, so I had to bring the logs into the hall myself.....
The milk wasn't quite frozen when it came home....
But the blood was certainly nipt, earlier this morning....
And Joan wasn't here either, so I also had to keel the pot myself when I made the potage.

It's been quite cold here, particularly overnight and early in the mornings when temperatures have dipped to -5C (23F), although, as I write this, at about lunchtime, it's a very pleasant 19C (66F).

I'm still not able to spend too much time in the garden although I have managed to collect some wood for the fire and wander around looking at things and planning for the year to come.

broad beansI've spent many hours thinking about what I might grow next year.....  I certainly want to grow tomatoes again and I have some seed saved from last year which I hope to use.  I ended up with about 20 plants last year, growing in various places,some in the ground and some in pots.   I think this year I shall probably go for 30 plants, all growing in the ground.    I can't decide whether to grow them all in one bed or whether to plant two or three different beds.

I also grew some beans which weren't very successful, but I'm going to try again.   Patrick over at Bifurcated Carrots has given me some more Dog Bean seeds and I have high hopes for this year.

leeksBefore winter really bit.....  and my foot fell apart.....  I planted some broad beans and they are doing really well, standing up to the cold well and now standing almost 150mm  (6") tall.

Back in September, whilst Kate from Hills and Plains Seedsavers was here on her Vegetable Vagabond tour, we planted leeks, onions and fennel all of which are showing good promise for 2009.   I also planted some broccoli seedlings but I have been constantly fighting a battle to stop them being eaten and during the past few weeks, whilst I have ben laid up, the eaters have got the upper hand...  I'm not defeated yet, but I have  suffered a heavy setback.  I have left one of my Chinese leaf plants go in the hope of saving some seeds.

I also sowed some peas under a mulch of about 150mm (6") of dead leaves in early November and I was delighted this morning to see the first few plants pushing their way through the mulch and finding the light of day.

chinese leavesElsewhere in the garden, things are coming back to life with lots and lots of buds appearing on various plants and shrubs.

Some of you will know that I am planning some significant changes here during the course of 2009 so it is a time of excitement for me as I look forward across new horizons.  In particular, I am proud to be hosting the first Kitchen Garden International Global Event in September 2009.  One of the many things I am truly looking forward to.

I wish all of you a very happy New Year and a wonderful and productive time in your garden.   Remember the Growing Challenge and try to grow an extra crop this year.   One thing that you haven't grown before.   I haven't decided yet, but I'm very tempted to try and grow cucumber.   When you're as new to growing vegetables as I am , then this particular challenge is not so very taxing .....  but I do wholeheartedly endorse it.

Have a great Year


Daphne said...

I'm all for trying new crops and I've been growing veggies for about 20 years. It keeps the garden interesting.

Patrick said...

Hi Ian,

It's nice to see you back. First I was out of town, then busy and I've only just notice your blogging again.

All the best for 2009!

I hope your foot keeps improving, and it doesn't slow down your garden.

Have you seen the link to the Seed Network on the front of my blog? It's not too late to get more seeds!

I'm still trying to figure out where I'm going to find space for everything I want to grow.

Ian said...

Daphne, thanks for your comment, I'm hoping to decide what to grow in the next couple of weeks and then, there is one piece of the jigsaw still to fall into place, but then, I shall be able to fly into 2009

Patrick, thanks again for your continuing support. I'm hoping to take a look at the Seed Network in the next couple of weeks and be in touch.
My foot is still disturbing my gardening but it is getting better. I'm told that patience is a virtue.