Saturday 16 January 2016

It's Freezing!

After a very warm start to January it's turned really cold. A heavy frost yesterday morning with a sprinkling of snow and again this morning. I've been putting sacking over my big pot of potatoes in the greenhouse overight but even then there's just a little damage. Outside the rhubarb seems to have survived however. The ground is frozen and the grass all crunchy underfoot. It hasn't thawed all day despite being quite sunny. I thought I'd take advantage of the dry conditions to have a bonfire and clear the enormous pile of prunings and seedy weeds. It wasn't a success, though. The dry grassy bits flared up but didn't get hot enough to dry out the wet woody bits.

Frost-edged sedum rosettes.

The rhubarb survived the frost last night.
This is the first serious frost of the winter. It's pleasant to have the mild weather (although could do without all that rain!) but some plants, like raspberries, need the frost to do their best in the summer and the cold helps to kill off pests and nasty bacteria.

Wednesday 6 January 2016

Early harvest!

After all the rain we've had two dry days - and it's amazingly warm. Up in the garden, tidying up around the leek bed and cutting back the ivy round the "thunder box" it was sunny and very still. The buzzards were soaring overhead and woodpeckers were calling around the woods. Almost like summer!

The rhubarb is coming up and, without any frost to knock it back, there's enough for a little taste. I roasted it gently in the oven with a little water. Lovely with some custard.

First rhubarb of the year

Rainbow chard leaves
The rainbow chard sown last summer is still going strong. I have been cutting off the flower stems and any old raggedy leaves and now there are lots of new leaves. So tonight we had steamed chard, potatoes (our own Desirees) sliced with onions and cooked in the oven with milk to accompany some left-over roast lamb.

It's great to be harvesting again - and unexpectedly early in the year.

Sunday 3 January 2016

2016 Calendar

For the last few years I've been creating calendars for Christmas presents. The Vista print people do quite a good job, and if you look out for the offers they're not too pricey.

This is the image I used for the front cover of the Froggarts Cottage Garden 2016 calendar, quite a few from the photos on this blog:

Froggarts Cottage calendar 2016 front cover

Froggarts Cottage

Saturday 2 January 2016

New Year

After an over-night frost 2016 has started wet and grey, following on from the warm, wet Autumn of 2015. For the last month day-time temperatures have averaged 12C with no frost at all.

Early daffodils in Coleorton, Leicestershire

This has resulted in hellebores, primroses and some daffodils already in bloom. The daffodils up in Coleorton village are always early, but this year are a month ahead of usual flowering. See Early Daffodils on the Coleorton website >>  However, the snow-drops are showing no sign - so maybe they know something!

The garden desperately needs work. The veg beds need digging over, a lot of leaves are lying wet and soggy where the bulbs and new growth will be coming, couch grass needs digging up and some new herbaceous plants and summer alliums are over-due for planting out. But it's been so wet and windy and the ground is horribly soggy, so things will have to wait a while. Wondering, if the weather is going to stay mild, whether it might be worth starting off peas and broad-beans.