Last week I planted out some beetroot and leek seedlings. Approximately two hours after it had stopped snowing. Then I had to run my hands under some hot water to defrost them! Round here, it's definitely that time of the year when it's good to have something to focus on besides the weather.
I have a sneaking suspicion that my poor little seedlings are going to sit and sulk in the cold from now until October (when it might begin to warm up again).
The plan was to fill the garden with brassicas too, but the local white butterflies put out a call to all their friends. They all came round one afternoon and ate every cabbage, cauli and broccoli seedling until just a few sad stalks were left.
To be honest, it probably took longer than one afternoon … I probably should have covered them!
But lets look on the bright side! There is plenty of time to do some of those gardening tasks that get pushed to the side during spring and summer. Time to read those gardening books, time to take a stock of your seed supplies and discard anything that has expired, time to do some planning for spring sowing, time to have a look in the garden shed.....
It's a good time of year to check over your garden tools. That might be as simple as taking a few minutes to gaze fondly at the exemplary collection of clean gardening tools, hung neatly in your extremely tidy shed.
On the other hand, it might mean risking life and limb looking for your hedge clippers amongst chaotic piles of gardening paraphernalia, or wandering aimlessly round the garden, searching half-heartedly in odd corners of the garden for your trowel, while wondering if the neighbour has borrowed it!
No matter which of these scenarios rings a bell, the colder months are an opportunity to get your shed in order and show those tools some TLC. Find them....clean them...sharpen them... oil them.... and while you're doing this, you will be able to do a bit of a stocktake and make sure you are ready for the next growing season.
Which tools or items of gardenalia couldn't you do without? I've been thinking about this over the last week or so. I can't bear to pick just one, so here is a list of five things I couldn't do without in my garden:
My trowel: Poor thing. Mistreated, left lying around in countless odd locations, my trowel is never-the-less treasured, being my most regularly used garden tool apart from my hands.
The Wheelbarrow: Hard to lose. Great for moving loads of course, but also excellent for soaking seed trays and mushroom logs. My second-most-often used piece of equipment.
The Heatpad: Has recently moved up several positions in the gardening tool ranking, due to moving to a colder climate. It was useful before but now it is starting to feel like a treasure! This week it will be helping get my lovely microgreens a good start, indoors!
My Small Spade. The only one I can lift when fully laden. Those big shovels are no use to me.
My Seed Raising Trays. Standard black plastic rectangular trays – perfect for the job.
None of these tools/equipment are for cutting, slashing or pruning, but I'm sure if I asked the other gardener in the family which gardening tools he couldn't do without, his list of favourites would cover those jobs!
So, fellow gardeners....which gardening tools couldn't you do without? We love to hear your stories....just add a comment to this post...we'd love to hear from you!