Richard's Ramblings March 9th

The snow melts and the garden re-emerges, relatively unscathed. Plants are much sturdier than we sometimes imagine. The sturdy resilience award probably goes to the globe artichokes which had about 6 feet of digger cleared snow dumped on them from the car park. They are gradually emerging from the snow looking slightly dog-eared, but basically fine. This contrasts with our stretch tent which was severely damaged by the weight of snow, metal supports being bent and pulled out of the ground. The delicate looking leaves of a globe artichoke seem more able to cope with the weight of snow than a well-constructed man-made structure. The damage to the glasshouse and tunnels of some Wexford growers was terrible to see; thankfully we had no damage to our tunnels, in fact the melting snow sliding off the tunnels cleaned the plastic for me. Interestingly the sunny sides of the tunnels were less well cleaned. I assume this was something to do with the speed of melting, I would imagine that to clean effectively, a heavy blanket of snow needed to slide down the plastic. 

As I mentioned last week we don’t have any particularly tender plants at GROW HQ, which made for a less traumatic time for the garden team last week. I think gardeners can be divided into two groups; those that like a straightforward growing life, who grow things in the right place at the right time and those that like to live life on the edge (horticulturally speaking anyway). The latter type of grower revels in the windowsill shuffle, with seed trays being moved around various sunny windowsills, porches, tunnels and glasshouse with the finale being the hardening-off hokey-cokey, with trays of plants going in and out and shaking it all about (I’ll mention hardening off in a diary later in the year, it’s something I don’t bother with anymore!)  I think, probably because I’m a naturally unexciting fellow, that all this dancing about is more trouble than it’s worth., I would definitely go for the straightforward growing life (& most other aspects of life as well) though I can see the attraction for some people of a bit of horticultural risk taking. I’ll personally wait till the season is right and then go for it.

Talking of the season being right, my next growing class (on Saturday March 31st) is about getting going for the spring. Pretty much all sowing can safely be left till then.  So I’ll look forward to meeting some of you then and brushing off our seed trays together and getting sowing for the year.    

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