Season opener

first pricking outIt’s the ritual of the gardening that is so pleasing.   My first of the year.   The lettuce and cabbage seeds I sowed last month are up and crowding their little pots.   So out came the now very orderly seed trays, a bag of mighty Floragard potting mix. Fill each pocket, smooth off the compost and then with a chopstick make a small hole in the middle, reach over to the seedlings and carefully ease one out by the leaves. One into each tray, firm carefully, fill a large bucket with some water and gently ease the tray in.   Leave for the water to draw up to the top, remove, and start another.

The lettuce buttercrunch was the best to germinate amongs the seeds I sowed. And I’ve done three trays of cabbage Greyhound, and two of Red Drumbeat. I’m going to save the rest (there are good mixed salad leaves germinating) for Tuesday as snow is forecast. Plus gales and storms.   Perfect weather to be hiding in the potting shed and sowing seeds. cistus at Valence TGV

I only managed a half day of gardening today as I had to nip down to town.   The huge banks of cistus at the train station are looking blasted by the cold weather.   I can’t imagine how they would replace these plants on such steep slopes.   And a lot of shrubs around dear old Castorama are looking crisp and dead.

mulch storesCastorama is my mulch heaven at the moment.   I bought ten more bags of the stuff today – 27 euro investment for 500 litres of ground cover. I emptied the whole pallet that was left outside in the garden section.   So unless they restock, I’m going to be groaning with disappointment in a few weeks time.   That, or I’ll have to spend a whole day chipping sticks.

It’s going to disappear in no time in my huge beds.   I have only covered a small section of the bottom right quadrant where the lettuce will go.   I’m still holding out hope that the cosmos seedlings will germinate as they have done for the past four years.   So the soil can stay bare everywhere else until I give up and sow more seeds. mulched salad bed

One of the good things about stacking the mulch is I found the source of the smell. Dead mouse.   Well, the mouse that is about the size of one’s hand.   Do we call them rats? Perish the thought.   But it’s very dead and lying on the stone wall near the lavender. Yeck.   I’ll do something about it tomorrow.

willow in vaseBut for now it’s indoors and cook a proper meal for the first time in days.   My rather large (five feet high) vase of willow sticks went down a treat.