I watched my neighbour plant out her raised beds. I think that’s what she was doing, in the hat and scarf and gloves. It’s the right time of year for it, but not the right sort of weather. I watched from my bed, with the electric blanket on, looking over my own winter-battered patch, past the broken fence, the broken greenhouse, the catshit, the baby thistles which are starting to take over.
I stayed in bed.
It’s nearly April, and as I write this, people are suffering from the worst snowfall in half a century or more. I’ve got nothing to complain about apart from a houseful of sodding seedlings desperate to get outside.
Ah the joy of a basement flat. Yes, great, we’ve got the garden, but no light to make anything happy. Certainly not the food I haphazardly attempt to grow.
The last couple of years, I’ve struggled with the low light levels in the flat, causing my seedlings to grow long and leggy. How I wish lack of light had that effect on me.
So I invested in a Root!t grow light which is brilliant. Tired, feeble herbs have been rejuvenated; seedlings grow happily short and squat. The idea is that I can start things off well and then they’ll cope better with my shady garden when they get out there.
The recent winds and an evil ginger cat killed my plastic greenhouse so all the plants that were over-wintering in it have had to be moved either inside or onto the outer windowsills, swaddled in bubble wrap and prayers. Every windowsill is covered with plants, inside and out. The grow light is like a celebrity being mobbed – some plants jostling just to get a glimpse of it. I’d like to say I diligently swap them round daily to ensure even growth, but that would be a lie. The truth is that, every day, I look at them and I think about moving them round.
To top it all off, the bloody things have taken notice of the lengthening days and are waking up and growing. It’s quantity not quality that counts for the established plants. So, as well as dealing with the seedling explosion, I am having to start watering and feeding things more often. This is normal and fair enough apart from the unseasonal temperatures. The radiators are still on, so the damn plants are drying out more quickly than normal. So they need watering more often than normal. But not too much. Theoretically, we’re more likely to overwater than to underwater, but I’m getting overwhelmed by my jungle of responsibilities and keep missing things. I shall have to buy more tarragon. However I shall be giving away aloe vera to anyone who is willing to take some off my hands.