January seems mostly to have been a month for doing unexciting, mundane things that I really didn’t want to be doing but had to be done all the same. Filing my tax return for example, changing gas and electricity supplier, sorting the pile of papers that builds up in the kitchen, cleaning the gutters. Basically not the sort of thing one writes a blog post about.
Today I finally got to the end of that particular ‘to do’ list. I registered for South East Open Studios (first two weekends of June) and I got out my box of seeds, sorted it out and ordered seed for the coming season.
Things are looking fairly dire at the allotment just now. Well it’s January, and I didn’t even put in any garlic or elephant garlic this winter so no exciting green shoots. The weather has been so mild that the weeds are growing apace. The clay is very wet and heavy. Almost everything standing has been blown over. The purple sprouting broccoli has tiny little purple heads on it but they are not worth picking – they shouldn’t be there until April in any case. I pulled the netting back over them to keep the pigeons off at least. I’ve dug up the last of the parsnips, the tiny celariac (OK for soup but they should be three times the size) and picked the few leaves off the curly kale that the slugs haven’t decimated. There are still some baby carrots in the ground and I pulled a bunch of those this week. Good news is that the new roof that we put on the shed is still there!
So, looking forward to longer brighter days, what to grow? Well the courgettes and squash are great – they don’t take a lot of effort, they produce a lot and we do use it. We still have a shelf of Crown Prince and Uchiki Kuri squash. The drying beans Spanga Bianco were a success last year so we’ll have some more of those and climbing French bean ‘blue lake’. Carrots and parsnips are productive so more of those. Poundstretcher have new seed in this month at 39p per packet so I already have those seeds. Everything else I ordered online from D T Brown.
New this year I plan to try the Spaghetti squash, and the 60 day Broccoli Rabe. I think nojustgreenfingers tried this last year without success, so it might be a complete flop, but it’s been on my radar for over a year now so I thought I’d give it a try. The other thing I’ve not bothered with before is peas – but this year I’m going to give it a go with a sugar snap pea ‘Sugar Ann’, splitting a packet with my mum.
As if to celebrate I made individual trifles this week with the last of the frozen berries from last year. In the bottom I put the berries, sponges and a little of the strawberry syrup from last year’s bumper crop. I don’t believe in jelly in trifle. It’s morally wrong, and just plain nasty. On top of that went custard, then whipped cream and finally some broken meringue nests.