Monday, 9 December 2013

Spring and Autumn Annals

The trouble with Spring is, it's becoming too unreliable.

It has always been the case that it will lure you out under false pretences, whether you're a tree that blossoms in early sunshine only to have your finest artwork destroyed by late frost, or a Lunchista who steps out into the bright new day in a teeshirt only to have her limbs bitten by a cold wind.

But now there's a new dimension to the unreliable-ness of spring: will it be drought or flood? Or, like last year in these parts, both?

And that is why I have taken to planting seeds in the autumn instead. Put it this way: most seeds appear in the autumn. Where, then, does Mother Nature in her wisdom suppose that they should spend the winter? Should they nip over to the Southern hemisphere and reproduce twice as fast? Dematerialise altogether for six months? Lay up in a friendly kitchen drawer somehow, in the billions of years before kitchen drawers were invented?

There's a Kale plant in our front garden that's been there for so many years it has practically turned into a tree. Including the winter two years back when the front garden got down to 8 below zero. Just this year it decided it had had enough of producing lots of lovely green leaves, and went to seed: perhaps because some Celebrity has declared Kale to be a Superfood, and got it running scared.

And so the seeds find themselves planted on the Plot, next to the bed where the broad beans have just come up, and just down from the purple sprouting broccoli (which has also just come up), because it was a ludicrously lukewarm 11 degrees today and I could dig the bed in my shirtsleeves.

The one concession I have made to the fact that winter can be tough (and birds can get hungry), is to cover them with black netting.

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