Contini Kitchen Garden Winter Story
9 March 2020
This winter hasn’t been as bad as I expected so far.
January was not that cold and wet at all, so working outside wasn’t a problem. That is why I managed to do lots of cleaning jobs, like removing dead plant material and debris, weeding, cleaning glass house from moss and algae, which was a bit challenging. I also had lots of fun by having a big bonfire after cutting some summer raspberries, clematis, jasmine and after pruning some trees overhanging the garden fence.
I was surprised to spot creatures like slugs, flies, spiders, earthworms and bees who had been woken from their slumbers. I really hope that those sleepy bees were able to find some already opened beautiful, purple hellebore flowers and some snowdrops, and didn’t starve.
I was delighted to smell some lovely onion aroma and spotted Three cornered leek and Wild garlic, which had started to grow early, just on the verge of forest. Actually, the allium species plants have been growing in the garden too, so hopefully they will be ready to harvest very soon.
February was spent tidying the garden, but mainly focusing on pruning and sowing first seeds this year. I must admit pruning is one of my favourite jobs to do in the garden. Although it is quite physically tiring sometimes, it gives me a lot of satisfaction and feeling that a pruned plant feels better now. Is not tangled anymore, or there is no rubbing branches, causing possible infections and injuries. In addition there is better access to the sun, airflow is improved, and all energy of the plant can focus on new, beautiful shots.
I cut some thorny gooseberries as well as blueberries recently and on my list to prune are pear and apple trees, and roses, and autumn raspberries to cut back.
In February there was a bit of snow and frosty days, which forced me to move my gardening inside. So sorting remaining seeds from last year and showing them in polytunnel was another thing to do. Now I am looking forward to seeing new baby plants of radishes, beetroots and Broccoli raab.
Over the last two months I was able to do some small harvesting of baby winter salad leaves which grow in the polytunnel, glasshouse and outside. Different types of Mustard greens, Minors lettuce, beetroot and turnip leaves and horseradish. In addition we’ve had herbs; bay leaf, rosemary, thyme and even early spring Rhubarb ‘Victoria’ have been available for the last couple weeks.
Sometimes it is difficult to survive winter in the garden while working outside when the weather is bad, and it is still dark, but I have my little secrets to survive these days. They are good, a lovely hot cup of tea and a chocolate bar. They have saved me quite a few times and I always have some in my bag 🙂