The weather wasn't playing it's part either. According to local lore, today is the very day, half way between new moon and full moon, to start your spring sowing. And guess what: after days of miserable weather and lashings of rain, today the clouds parted and perfect conditions for sowing presented themselves! What's more, after a fantastic day of balmy sunshine, we were barely back indoors again, the rain returned giving everything a nice watering and more rain is forecast for the rest of the week.
On cue the almond tree opened it's first flowers too.
As I don't have a heated green house (not even a heated house for that matter), and the space I had created in front of an upstairs window for putting seed trays has been taken up by cats, who would cause chaos amongst my delicate seedlings, I have decided to sow straight into my newly built cold frame. More sensitive plants I sowed in trays covered with a plastic lid within the cold frame to give it a double glazing effect so to speak.
Incidentally, I had left a small gap during the construction of the cold frame, which I was going to block off anyway to avoid a draft. Today I had discovered that the gap was about cat-sized as a cat obviously enjoyed the nice warmth under cover.
Here is what we sowed today:
- dwarf beans slenderette. I haven't tried these before, but according to the package they can be sown earlier (i.e. from Feb. onwards), so I shall stagger sowing.
- pea 'progress No.9'. I don't usually do well with peas. The autumn sown ones are struggling and in summer they don't like the sun beating down on them either. Maybe they'll do better this time. This variety sounds like a song from the Beatles' White Album!
- lettuce 'salad bowl'. A vigorous, easy and quick growing variety.
- Rocket. It normally sows itself out quicker than we can eat it, but this winter we suddenly found ourselves without any. Don't know how that happened.
- Tomato 'Marmande'. This one makes the bulk of my production every year, a large, fleshy and productive variety.
- Tomato 'Gigante seedless'. I don't know what posessed me to buy a seedless variety, it won't sow itself out in my compost. I must have just read GIGANTE and thought that sounds good. I didn't bother with sowing any other varieties as some cherry toms, salad toms and plum toms seem to usually spring up spontaneously anyway and I always run out of space to plant them all.
- Sweet pepper 'Feher'. This is a small pointy yellow variety ripening early and giving good crops for a long time.
- Pepper 'Quadrato d'Asti'. Large red peppers, very sweet
- Cayenne chillies.
- Chilli 'spicy cherry'. Great for stuffing with tuna or anchovies and preserving under oil.
- Aubergine 'halflange violette'. Obviously a Dutch cultivar meaning half long purple. Produced well last year
- Kohlrabi 'Delikatess Blue'. They were slightly old seeds, hope they'll come.
- Gherkin 'Vert Petit de Paris'. I love pickled gherkins. Last year I sowed some direct in the ground with only limited success, so I thought I'll start it off in the cold frame this year.
- 3 types of lettuce: 'meraviglia di 4 stagione', a reddish open head, 'gentilina', green frizzy lettuce and 'brasiliana', an iceberg variety.
Secondly I gathered some angelica seeds from the wild last year. I thought I'll try and grow some on one of my lower terraces where I can't do much else anyway in honour of my friend Angelika (Engelwurz) mentioned in the previous post.
Thirdly I was going to write something in the next part of wild food of the month about the judas tree. Both flowers and 'beans' of this apparently pretty tree are edible. Trouble is I haven't tried any myself yet and also I'm not sure I could identify one. In Arcola, near our land there are some pretty pink flowering trees which I thought might be it. So I picked a couple of pods with a view of sowing some out and making a positive id. It appears it's not a judas tree.
This is what the seeds and pods look like.
Like a judas tree they have an abundance of pink flowers in spring, but these specimen are trained in a pergola in a public park rather than growing upright. So I'm not sure what I've got there, anyone any ideas? I should maybe take a photo when it is in flower. I sowed a few of them anyway, it's a pretty plant.