When to jump

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Organisation is key to much of my life. I like to have a framework set out in terms of roughly what to do when. Much of the activities are dictated by the climate and time of year; you can't go walking in the dark or sunbathing in winter.
Trying to judge when winter is being shrugged off and spring is setting is one of the toughest points of the year to call. With the allotment, wildflower patch and greenhouse to juggle I am cautious of jumping too soon. Two years ago we put in our potatoes only to find that the lovely green shoots were at risk of being turned to mush with hard late frosts. We wrestled with fleece covers and sheets, even trying to wrap trees in them to save the blossom. So much hassle. The trees have to make their own call but the seeds are down to us.
I prefer sowing flower seeds in trays in the greenhouse for a few reasons. The plot is stony and weedy which makes for a direct sowing nuisance. You can't hoe or try tidying up until you can identify anything by which time the weeds are likely to be taller and stronger. Plus in the greenhouse it's warmer and fun to spy the tiniest of shoots appearing. It's a more controlled environment. That said, it's still cold overnight and plants are at risk of freezing. Biding your time but not missing the boat is a bit of a tricky line to walk.
The new wildflower patch is another one. The weeds like thistle, nettle, grass and unknown ground cover still want to grow albeit slowly all year. I have to judge spraying it off, waiting for it to be effective, then ruffling up the top layer and scattering the seed and hoping it gets enough warmth and rain to germinate rather than rot or become smothered by fast growing weeds.
It's hard to know when to jump!
Looking at the long term forecast is helpful but we all know how prone to change our weather is.

Pictured is the first hellebore from our garden. I planted them a year ago and waited patiently for them to establish. A beautiful sight and hopefully they will continue to grow flower more next year.

Take care,
Sophie

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