My seeds suffered a crisis of sogginess over Christmas, so rather a lot needed planting much earlier than they would usually. Looking back, I see that what I'd actually wanted to sow at that time was onions. None of these came up. It was probably too cold for them to germinate. On the other hand, the peas and beans had already germinated, which is why I was sowing them.
The beans given to me by a friend (District Nurse, climbing) were going crazy in their seed trays:
I potted these on before going away, and they are now standing in a row in the conservatory. I even found them canes.
A couple of these have died, but most are looking fine. I just have to keep these alive until I can plant them outside. The usual advice for these things is,
After all risk of frost has passedbut what does that mean? We had frost on 12th June here last year!
The peas and broad beans in the greenhouse are mostly looking happy...
... though I did notice that some of them are looking a little chewed. I searched for and evicted half a dozen slugs before I went away, and the same again when I got back.
The onion sets are mostly still alive
and the peas that I sowed directly in the ground in December seem, against all the odds, to have survived. Well, quite a lot of them, anyway. I say all the odds but I have to admit, the odds haven't been that bad really. It's been a very mild winter this year. When we did have a cold snap I covered them with bracken, as planned, and rolled it back before I went away.
and just in case you can't see the peas in the above picture...
... here they are, looking a bit yellow but there are definitely quite a few still growing there.
A couple of weeks later, and the outdoor peas are still looking convincingly not-dead:
Whereas the peas and broad beans in the greenhouse were outgrowing their paper pots, so I planted them out as well...
I'm sure I have more peas than beans, but the beans require far more space than the peas. The white rings are egg shells, which I've been saving all winter. These are to deter slugs, though I'm not very optimistic they'll work. I also put some twiggy sticks around the peas, to give them something to hang on to when they get bigger.
Learning my lesson from last year I chose a calm day for this operation, and all the twigs stayed pretty much where I put them.
The tomatoes that I sowed with the salad seeds are now in need of potting on. There are two varieties, Roma, which I saved from just one tomato grown last year (I did manage to harvest more than that, but only saved seeds from one) and the unknown cherry tomatoes, seeds of which are left over from the year before. I have twenty three Roma seedlings that look healthy enough to pot on - an ideal number - and I've treated them to fairly big pots.
Because the other tomato seeds were old, I planted lots, expecting a poor germination rate. Of course, they all came up, though they don't look very healthy. This means that, like last year, I have more tomato seedlings than I know what to do with.
Insipid looking cherry tomato seedlings.
The gap in the seed tray is where I've taken some out to pot on.
I also have some garlic coming up.
This is very pleasing because when I tried to buy garlic in the autumn I couldn't get it anywhere, and thought I was too late. Then when I was buying seed potatoes at the end of January, I noticed that Charlie's also had garlic, so I bought some. I hope it does better than last year's attempt.
After I'd planted out the peas and beans the other day, Ian commented that it's nice to see the garden looking like somewhere that food grows, again. He's right. It is.