It was going to be a matter of principle for me this year to follow the general advice and wait patiently for the right time to start planting. I have read so many articles and books emphasising that it is better to wait one more week than to plant too early because it won’t affect the results too badly and planting too soon can be a big mistake.
At first this wasn’t too hard to do especially when we had a couple of spells with a few days of snow and some very low temperatures overnight. More recently it has been getting harder especially as I’m very aware that March is rapidly approaching – I happily choose to ignore the fact that I live in the North East, UK where spring comes a little later than most!
I had been doing so well but I eventually gave in to the temptation and opened some seed packets yesterday which I had bought over the last few weeks. We have had a few consecutive days of relatively good weather (for the time of year) plus I had prepared some seed trays which have been “warming up” in the house for the last few weeks.
This was only a very small sowing just to ease me in so only 1 tray has been used and no more than 10 of anything was planted. This first batch includes:
Onions from seed as I’ve only grown them from sets before
Beetroot because I’ve never tried growing that before
Squash because I’ve never tried it before (and I bought the seeds in a sale!)
Lettuce just because the seeds were cheap and I didn’t want to risk any other seeds yet
There’s not much to show for the effort yet of course but I’ve included a picture anyway and I feel more like spring is on the way at last.. (just until we get the Easter snow of course!)
We are 2 months into 2013 and looking back now I can see that although things have progressed, there is still some way to go. My efforts are focused on avoiding potential mishaps or delays but I’m told that this is a form of negative thinking – Personally I’d rather be prepared if possible.
Now that we have our buyers in place, the paperwork in motion and mortgage dealt with we have been able to assess the chain of purchasers. This is pleasantly short with only three property sales involved and first time buyers at one end and our sellers moving into rented accommodation. There is always a faint worry about the chain collapsing somewhere else but the fact that there are so few links should help.
It felt a little odd to have a second viewing after our offer had already been accepted but luckily there was nothing of any great importance to put us off – not even the weather could dampen the enthusiasm for the future.
I have so far beaten my usual impatience and managed to hold off sowing any seeds but I think this week will see some seeds going into trays/pots indoors. For some reason I feel the need to get things moving especially if it encourages the arrival of spring but I know that anything planted out before moving house will be left for the new owners.
This year sees some new vegetables that I’ve not tried before so I’m keen to learn what will happen and at least I can take that knowledge with me even if the plants are left behind! I think a few beetroot and carrot will be the first phase but I’ll wait until this weekend before planting out the peas just to be certain the current cold spell is over. I’ll also be sure to keep some seed back for later so I can also try them when we get to the new place.
The 3 chickens are still laying intermittently with just an occasional “jelly” egg (perhaps once a week) which I think must be an egg with little or no shell on it. They are all in good health and are enjoying trashing the far corner of our garden now that some new fencing is in place to keep them there! I had expected a more noticeable slow down in egg production or even some days with none at all but so far we always get a couple – except when egg collecting duties are handled by an over enthusiastic 6-year-old.
Today is exactly 1 year to the day since my first blog post and at that time the overall idea for Small Plot Big Ideas was still coming together in my head. A big idea or grand scheme is all very well but you need to start somewhere and all I had was a suburban garden, a small plot, so I made the best of what I had at the time. Looking back now I don’t think I really knew where the whole concept would lead but I always felt that I would know when I was making progress and that nothing was impossible (although some ideas have proved completely impractical!).
The internet is awash with excellent blogs from people with more growing experience and writing talent than me but I still felt like I had something to contribute. Besides a secondary purpose for my blog was always to act as a diary so I can look back on the highs and lows through the seasons. With my non-existent writing experience being roughly on a par with my limited vegetable growing it seemed an obvious solution to learn about both things as I go along.
There has been a great deal of progress over the last year with the focus on vegetable growing plus the introduction of the chickens. However I’m still very aware that we have barely scratched the surface in the world of smallholding and the knowledge we lack outweighs the knowledge we have gained so far.
Although the garden produce was always the main interest, I should confess that the blog might not have lasted so long if it wasn’t for WordPress. The beauty of blogging software like WordPress for me is that I can indulge my technical side with add ons (plug-ins) and themes for customisation if I want to but it’s always optional. As a system it separates the content from the presentation so I can change the look and feel without the need to wade knee deep in computer code or rewriting past scribblings.
So the big news on the first anniversary is that we have accepted an offer on our Small Plot and (fingers crossed) will be moving to our Big Idea in a couple of months. More by luck than judgement, it turns out that everything is still on course and recent events are roughly following the general theory – particularly the “big ideas” bit as we hope to take on 15 acres!
Exciting times lie ahead I’m sure even though the potential timing for the move will probably mean leaving some of this years vegetables in the garden at the old house (where pots can’t be used). That is a relatively small price to pay in my opinion and an unexpected bonus for the new owners when they move in!