Officially, spring starts on the 1st of September around here. Although I’ve been seeing the signs of early spring for about six weeks now, there’s something about the official date that still has me excited.
I spent a couple of weeks in August under the weather with a rotten cold, which turned into a long-lasting cough and had me taking the bus to work instead of walking. When I got back to my usual route, it was actually surprising how much had changed in such a short time – from the obvious to the subtle.
In the garden, things are shooting up all over the place. Last summer I let a lot of things go to seed and tossed the dried seed heads around the place in the hopes that they’d naturalise in place. I’m delighted to find a huge patch of parsley coming along, and calendula scattered all over the place.
Spring means all kinds of garden planning, and there’s been a heap of that. The five flats of seedling trays that are sitting on my dining room table are spectacularly unphotogenic, but I assure you I have a couple of hundred tomato seedlings on the way (we’re having a seedling sale in October) as well as a lot of spring/summer greens. The chillis, eggplants, and a few heat-loving herbs will need to wait a month or so.
Outside, I’ve planted three trees (apple, pear and fig) that I bartered with a local grower in return for some website help, and today I started to build a no-dig bed around one of them. The bottom layer includes a year and a half worth of pizza boxes – quite horrifying when I realise how many there are!
A long, warm autumn meant that my tomatoes just kept going and going, and I didn’t get my winter crops sown in time. It’s been a long, boring winter with very little growing except a few greens and herbs. No broccoli, no cabbage, no snow peas – definitely need to do better next year! But today I picked the first bulb of fennel that grew through the winter. It’s going into a lamb and barley soup.
You know what was most exciting, though? This:
A sunflower. Truly a sign that summer’s on it’s way.