Swindon, like most other places has been under a blanket of snow since the beginning of the week. By Thursday we had about 7 to 10 inches of the white stuff.
Roads and School's have remained closed due to treacherous conditions. We have not had any post for three days, recycling and refuse collections have been cancelled until our next collection date. It has snowed, then the temperature has dropped which has led to sheet ice, then it has snowed again.
The Council's gritting teams have done a marvelous job in such dreadful conditions. Although there is a national shortage of salt, all of the A Roads have been gritted. The kids have had a great time building snowmen and playing in the snow, even the dog has finally got used to it after holding his bladder for ages!
Yesterday, I spent about an hour and half clearing the paths and front drive of snow and sheet ice. It was quite satisfying to be able to see the path again but today I am paying the price. When I got up this morning, I have found muscles that I didn't know I had.
The snow is now starting to thaw, although the temperature overnight was -5. Today the sun is out and we have rain expected. The weather forecast for Monday looks dreadful with blizzard conditions, snow, rain and freezing temperatures. Although I don't usually mind the snow, you can get fed up with it!
I have decided to grow potatoes again this year in big containers. This year I am going to try some new varieties which I haven't tried before. I have seed potatoes chitting and have gone for the following varieties Pentland Javelin (Traditional Early Favourite), Charlotte (Second Early), and Pink Fir Apple (Main crop).
The seed potatoes have been placed in egg boxes and are stored in a cool, frost free place in good light.
For some time now I had been thinking about expanding my collection of chili seeds. I love the varieties which are made up of different colours, they are so pretty. A fellow grape has started a special thread for chili growers on the grapevine so thought I would sign up and learn from their experiences of growing chili plants. I have also managed to swap some seeds for some new varieties of chili seed (Thanks to Small Blue Planet). I have also ordered some seed, but plan on saving seed this year for future sowing and to pass on to others.
Last Week I have sown a few seeds of the following:
Chinese Five Colour
Peppa Orangina F1
Garda Hocus Pocus
Scotch Bonnet Red
I have ordered a few more varieties which I want to try and I am waiting for these to arrive.
So far I have x2 Cveta, x2 Purple Jal, x2 Chinese Five Colour that have germinated. I also plan on taking lots of chili plants into work for colleagues who will swap them for something else.
Update On Garlic, and earlier sowings.
The garlic that I planted some weeks ago into modules has started to put on growth.
My banana shallots have been moved to the greenhouse and are covered over with a single layer of fleece. The trough of carrots have also been moved to the greenhouse, they have germinated and its one of the best rates of germination I have seen for carrot. I usually do direct sowing with carrots and haven't been to successful so may do the container growing method again.
This is a picture of my early tomatoes. I have planted them into white drinking cups as they bounce the light back on to the plants.
I am really pleased with them. If they get a bit leggy then I can still add more compost up to the first set of leaves and they won't require potting on for a while.
I am surprised that they have made it this far considering how early they were sown and the weather conditions outside. My main sowings of tomatoes are usually done at the end of February, beginning of March so this is a bonus.
The Chinese Lanterns have germinated and are currently living in propagator. The Lavender, I managed to kill off. So I did another sowing which has germinated and has been moved to the window sill. I think it died as I left in the propagator for too long and may be it was too warm.
I have also sown the following:
Sweet Pea -Heirloom Mixed
This variety is a mixture of the smaller flowering Heirloom grandiflora types, it dates back to the 16th century. It has a wide range of highly scented colours. I have grown this variety before, last year the flowers just kept on coming and continued for a three months. The perfume that they give off is beautiful and intense. We had non stop sweet peas in the house throughout last summer. I saved last years seed and will do another sowing in a few weeks time.
Now to plan next weeks sowings by the phases of the moon.
Spring Onions are definitely on the list.