Thursday, 24 February 2011

Oops I did it again

Last year when digging over a neglected part of the plot I found I had inadvertently left some parsnips in the ground  and they had grown to humungous proportions - well,  while digging over a neglected part of the plot this year, I expect  you can guess the rest.....

Some people just never learn, here's a picture of one of them  next to my size sevens for comparision. Not many of those to the pound, as they say. Amazingly, they're not tough and woody as I would have imagined, and although they're not as sweet as they might be, roasted in the oven and glazed with a bit of honey or maple syrup and they're still good to eat. That's the parsnips, not the wellies.

 Under these two old shower screens is where I came across them, while preparing a section for some early salad sowings in a week or two. I thought I could put them to good use as lights for a cold frame type thing. But I didn't make allowance for the fact that they weigh a ton, (probably some sort of safety glass I expect) and are not really ideal. They'll help dry and warm up the ground a bit though, ready for  the seed to go in next month, and then I think they will have to go to the tip or be Freecycled.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Wild Thing, You Make My Heart Sing

...well not so much Wild Thing as Wild Bird, - (there are quite a few "Wild Things" I could manage without, - foxes, grey squirrels, and rats for example), but I've really been enjoying the wild birds just lately on my new bird table. We seem to be getting through peanuts at a rate of knots at the moment.
Birds are said to begin looking for nesting places on St Valentine's Day, February 14th, though this somewhat arbitrary date will obviously vary with the weather, and the ones in my garden still haven't made any use yet of my other Christmas present, the webcam equipped nesting box. Even though I've moved it to a more secluded position in the midst of a clematis alpina, (var Francis Rivis, not that I expect them to appreciate the variety), but guys, just use it please - it's rent free. I've even taken the front off now to encourage a wider variety of birds to consider this desirable residence and every morning when I come down I anxiously check the tv screen, and am disappointed to find no one in there. David says I must be more patient. But patience never was my strong point.

And just quickly on the subject of things that make your heart sing,

 it's hard not to be thrilled by the smallest flowers in February, a few little species crocus, like these crocus thomasinianus, a favourite of my son's.

and even the otherwise rather ordinary flowers of winter jasmine are always such a joy simply because they're there in February.

And snowdrops always make a good show in this shady graveyard area under deciduous trees, (that's pet's graveyard I hasten to add, nothing more sinister..)

Friday, 4 February 2011

Germination Test Results

Just a quick note to say that most of my test germinations have proved to be fully viable. It took just a few days sitting in a warmish spot in the kitchen, to produce quite a forest of sprouting.
 Failures have been, quite predictably Parsnips, which are well know for having a short shelf life, some ancient seeds I've had lurking in the bottom of the box for simply aeons, and rather more suprisingly some chillies and aubergines.
 I think these latter two may be looking for warmer temperatures/ longer germination period, so I will give them a bit longer before consigning to the bin. Just goes to show though, most seeds are viable for far longer than one season, these ornamental gourd seeds for example are dated best before 2008 and still have at least 50% viability !

So whilst I wouldn't advise keeping them longer than two or three seasons, it's always worth checking before binning.


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