When you are a gardener there are lots of little jobs you need to do - often unglamorous, messy, repeated, yet necessary. You get the point? One of those that needs doing at about this time every year is re-potting Mint. This is something I have written about before, so if you want to know more about how I do it, follow this LINK. Well, here's the evidence that 2015's Mint re-potting has taken place!
I have had my Mint in pots like those for years now. Each year I cut a small chunk from each plant and re-pot it into fresh compost and discard the remainder. This ensures that the Mint remains vigorous and doesn't get too pot-bound.
Keeping Mint in pots like this is a sensible thing to do where space is limited, because it does like to roam, and if let loose will soon spread all over the place.
I have also discarded the remaining Basil plants which I have been growing on the Dining-Room windowsill. This is another annual event. The plants usually survive the Winter, but only just, and by the end of February they are very weak and uninspiring, so I chuck them away and start again from seed. Here are my newly-sown pots, covered with plastic bags to increase humidity for better germination.
This year I am using Basil seeds from Seeds of Italy (Franchi seeds). If you don't already know this company, I suggest you take a look at what they have to offer. They have a wide selection of seeds, mostly produced on their own land in Italy. They are passionately proud of the quality of their product, as well as providing excellent service. One of the distinguishing features of their seeds is that the packs usually contain huge quantities. The pack of Basil I opened this time must have a thousand seeds in it - probably enough to sow a whole field of Basil! I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand the big quantity would be useful if you wanted to share the seeds with friends or fellow members of say an Allotment Society. On the other hand though, it could tempt you to keep the seeds even after they have become stale. The Basil seeds in that one packet would keep me going for about 25 years!
One job that I hadn't expected to do again so soon was to re-sow Broad Beans. Checking on the ones in pots in the garage to see if they had germinated I found that every single one had been stolen by mice! I have had to start all over again. Grrrrrrr! I shall have the last laugh though, because I have put down some "Rodine" rodent-killer. Sorry folks, but to me a mouse is not a cute furry little animal. It is a voracious pest.
Now that I have started sowing seeds I have the constant responsibility of checking whether anything has germinated. I have seeds in the (dark) airing-cupboard which would go leggy very quickly if not provided with light soon after germination, so I check them at least twice a day. I have seeds on the windowsill of the spare bedroom; I have seeds on the Dining-room windowsill; I have seeds in the garage; seeds everywhere that need checking frequently! This situation is not going to change until at least June. In fact it is going to get a lot worse. You know, this is where many inexperienced gardeners go wrong: they under-estimate the amount of care and attention that is required. Some of them maybe think that you just bung a few seeds in a pot and forget about them until harvest time. No such luck! Perhaps this is why gardening is sometimes referred to not only as a hobby, but also as a pastime?
Here's another job I have to do quite often at this time of year - put the newly-distributed home-made compost back in/on the raised beds. The Blackbirds kick it off in their vigorous efforts to get at the worms and other little creatures it contains.
Well, I suppose if they have to do it, now is the best time, before the beds become full of delicate young seedlings!
Must dash now - I have seeds to check!!