Spring is in the air?

Hi All,

Where I am right now, spring seems a million miles away.  We even saw a few flakes of snow yesterday and had the fire burning pretty much all day and evening.  Quite frankly it has been bitter.

Only a couple of weeks ago I was lulled into a false start with some warm weather that was positively dazzling and had everyone in the playground actively smiling and saying a jubilant ‘hello’ to all.  I got carried away and planted some seeds.  Within a couple of days, the snow arrived.

So what to do when it is so cold outside and you want it to be spring again?  Of course wrap up and go for a hearty walk, get that sun on you however you can.  But what I have decided to do is bring a little spring inside.  I am normally a bit no nonsense in the garden, waiting for the weather to warm up before planting outside.  I have not had a great deal of success with this.  So undeterred by the cold weather I have decided to have a clear out of my seed box and start up some of those more tender plants that can be transplanted later, inside.

I did have to brave the cold to dig out the old pots from the ramshackle greenhouse and mooch about among my raised beds to steal some earth for potting.  But the rest was an indoors task.  Looking up which of my seeds could be planted indoors and also which could be planted in March.  I then looked up the Lunar planting calendar. This is quite an experience in itself.  There are three lunar planting beliefs and methods which make the mind boggle:

  • The Synodic, or waxing and waning cycle,
  • the Sidereal, which is directed by the moons orbit around the earth
  • the Biodynamic cycle, developed by Rudolph Steiner which lookes at which constellation the moon is passing through to give a more precise time of planting for different groups of vegetables.

The funniest part to all of this is how much these cycles contradict each other.  One will tell you that it is a good time for germination, another that it is a barren time and so no planting should take place, use the time instead to tidy the garden.  The following site is one that I visit every time that I am planting:

http://www.the-gardeners-calendar.co.uk/moon_planting.asp

They suggest that you start with the basic waxing and waning moon cycle, or Synodic planting cycle.

However they do lovely little daily symbols of the biodynamic cycle and I like to use those.  They split the plants into groups such as fruiting, roots, leafy and flowering and these are then given day allocations depending on which constellation the moon is passing through at that time.  Each type of plant gets a couple of days to plant.

For me this weekend I have been planting leafy herbs, some lemon balm and lemon basil, although I pushed the boat out a bit with my (flowering) globe artichoke .  I also planted some seed that was completely unmarked – pot luck.

Now the photos that I have included in the blog were clearly not planted this weekend, I decided that my pots of earth were not particularly interesting, also the tiniest shoots that I can see in them already may be weeds, so I best check them out before I get too excited.  No these are some that I prepared earlier; celery that I gained no success with whatsoever last time I planted it straight in the ground and pumpkin, seeds that my son was given in the summer, too late to plant.  I have grown a pumpkin before but it was small, not at all sufficient for Halloween.  So by giving them a head start now and bringing some joy inside for a bit, I am hoping to get some bumper crops later on.

Enormous satisfaction can be found from the simple act of watching these carefully nurtured seeds emerge from the soil and offer some green to the windowsill, signs that spring really is here and warm weather can only surely follow.

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