February 2017: a new season of growing

2017 has been a relatively benign winter in NW London: a few weeks of cold weather, but barely any snow on the ground. A brief use of a soil thermometer over the weekend of 19/20th February showed that, at 5cm depth, soil temperature was 8-9C, depending on location.

The over-wintered garlic plants, nibbled by birds during the winter, have perked up noticeably, the first obvious growing sign of the emergence from winter.

Two other two signs that spring is on the way is the first emergence of rhubarb and the first tiny green shoots on the comfrey plants. A third is the sudden emergence of green shoots on the parsnips still in the ground.

February 2017 has seen three events take place:

  1. Building a new pile of horse manure mixed with straw.
  2. Treating the undug beds with water dynamised with Horn Manure (purchased from the Biodynamic Association’s website).
  3. Sowing and transplanting the first seeds of the year indoors, namely:
    1. Spinach, peas for shoots, salad onions and cabbage.
    2. Onions and Beetroot.
    3. Early Tomatoes.
    4. Radish and turnips.

A separate post will be written for each of these three activities.

Author: Rhys

Rhys trained as a research biologist, working for a decade in the cancer research charity sector, before completing an MBA and working in management consultancy, technology transfer and early technology investment spaces, mostly working with UK academics to turn their scientific discoveries into value for society. AS a younger man, he was fascinated with mountains, both climbing them and ski-ing down them. Whilst living in Scotland, he completed a round of (then) all 277 Munros, the independent mountains over 3000ft originally complied as a list by Munro. He also spent his holidays representing the Ski Club of GB, as a Representative and Party Leader between 1990 and 1997. During that time, he found to his bemusement that he was able to predict, without understanding fully why, to a remarkable degree of accuracy, when good snow conditions would occur in the Alps, gaining an unworthy reputation for predictive genius in 1990 when predicting the evolution of the 1989/90 winter in Wengen, Switzerland for his CEO boss. He used this skill for the next seven years to ensure that he enjoyed powder snow pretty much every time he went ski-ing. An MD student he was training in Oxford also impressed his wife by taking Rhys' advice about when to take her to Italy in the mid 1990s! In recent years, Rhys has turned his mind toward how to grow prize tomatoes, winning several prizes in local and London shows and has, in the past 3 years, moved toward taking over a 50 square metre urban vegetable patch, which he has turned into a no-dig area since autumn 2014.

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