Thursday 4 April 2013

...but with Wind Chill, it feels like -10C...

Our weather conditions over the Easter weekend were what you might call "Siberian", with daytime temps just a few degrees above zero and a persistent strong breeze making everything seem a lot colder than the thermometer suggested. Even when wrapped up in several layers of clothes, I could only bear to stay outside for a few minutes at a time. Wherever possible I took my work into the garage. No way was it suitable weather for sowing seeds, so my Beetroot, Parsnips and Turnip seeds will have to wait a bit longer.

One job I did get done was the re-potting of the Mint. Not exciting, but very necessary. I grow my Mint in pots because it is very invasive and will spread all over the garden, given half a chance. Each year I discard about nine tenths of the Mint and re-pot just a few pieces into fresh compost. It re-grows very rapidly and will soon expand to fill the pots it has been given. This is what one of last year's pots looked like a couple of weeks ago, with a mass of tiny green shoots thrusting up through the tangle of old dried stems.

Today I simply used an old kitchen knife to chop out four sections of Mint plant, each with lots of big pale roots and a few green shoot, and then buried them into some 12" pots full of new compost, with just the tips of the shoots showing above ground level.

I have four pots like that now, which should provide plenty for our needs.

I also had a close look at the Rhubarb (willing it to grow a bit quicker!). Despite the fact that I have covered the two older plants with large cloches, they are still growing painfully slowly. I suppose you have to sympathise really - they are probably using most of their energy just surviving in this bitter cold.

This photo shows quite well how the new leaves burst out of their "sleeves" soon after reaching the surface of the soil. At this stage they are very tightly furled.

Then they begin to unfurl. This is just like an ultra-slow-motion version of what happens when you screw up a piece of tissue paper into a ball, and then let it go!

I've had a bit of fun with this next one, which is actually another photo of the same leaf as in the previous photo. Don't you think it looks like a brain? (Not that I have ever seen a real brain, of course...)

Over the weekend I also harvested all but two of my remaining Curly Endives. They were looking very jaded, and I was only able to use just a few of the tiny inner leaves of each one. The outer leaves were mostly brown at the edges and looked distinctly tough and unappetising.

The final two Endives are under cloches and I'm hoping they might be a bit better - hopefully they will be a bit more tender, since they have not had to constantly brace themselves against the wind!

Normally at this time of year I would be sowing lots of salad seeds, but so far all I have done is sow one paltry tray of Baby Leaf lettuce in an unheated propagator in the garage.


  1. It was very windy here too over Easter however the sun was shining and it was beautiful walking/hiking weather which was what I was doing. I'm cheering my rhubarb on too; I'm ready for rhubarb crumble.

  2. The rhubarb does look like it would be at home on the set of Casualty.
    Sunny but cold here so we worked in the greenhouse.

  3. yes that looks like a interesting...MARK is your weather at this time of year unusual? is it colder?

  4. I hope it warms up for you soon. My rhubarb is just coming up right now. I'm anticipating some stewed rhubarb.

  5. Oh I hope you get some warmth over there soon. I'm feeling cold just reading about it.

  6. Cold, wind, and rain is what we have had this week here in the southeastern US. The forecast for the week-end is sunny and not so cold (I hesitate to say warmer). I am hoping to get some bamboo set up for a pole bean trellis this week-end. Then when the soil is warm enough I can get out there and plant.
    Lovely little sprouts of stuff you have coming up!
    Happy Gardening!
    Lea's Menagerie
    Mississippi, USA

  7. Rhubarb is growing slowly here too Mark, I'm willing it on as I can't wait to eat it with some natural yoghurt for breakfast, porridge is getting a bit dull now. I agree it's been too cold to work outside, all my tasks have been completed in the shed and it's still freezing!

  8. Yes to the brain Mark,we have some rhubarb under a cloche and I looked the other week and it was starting to shoot.I am working over the weekend so hopefully will have time to check on it next week-if the wind doesn't blow us away!!!


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