Spring might not be in the air, but we’re getting a faint whiff of something waking up as the snowdrops push their way through the mulch and the green shoots of growth show in the rows of seed trays hogging every spare windowsill and light trap in the house.
The potatoes are chitting in the conservatory, which I now know is the technical term for making them sprout before you plant them. Blimey, with all the left-over sprouting potatoes we’ve had in the larder over the years I’m already a Master Chitter. And who knew there were so many different types of potatoes? Earlies, second earlies, main crop, but you plant them all at the same time, how do they know when to grow? Do they agree among themselves, as part of a subterranean pact? What if I just mix them up, will they lose their identify? It’s a horticultural mystery, to me anyway, and one that will be solved after a lot of digging.
In my enthusiasm to start my first year as a proper allotment holder, I may have been a little over-zealous with seed sowing, Nothing really happens in the winter, though one of my books proudly boasts that if you plan your planting, you can pick a cabbage every day of the year. Personally I don’t think my constitution could take that kind of pummeling and the ozone layer may never recover from the extra emissions. So the three different varieties of broad bean that were wizened up old beans last week are now thick, healthy shoots. If they carry on at this rate we’re going to have bean surprise salad next month. The surprise will be that there’s nothing but beans.
The cats have shown absolutely no curiosity at all at the trays of dirt around the house, which is a great relief to all concerned, though they are enthusiastic diggers in the garden, were their little presents lie just under the surface, they look so proud of it too. Thank goodness they’ll be nowhere near the allotment.
They are interested in my other sewing, though, and can’t resist playing on the tissue paper patterns. Just so long as it keeps them from doing something that rhymes in my chitting.