Tuesday 7 February 2023

Life on The Weald - January 2023

Life on The Weald - January 2023

and in the kitchen and garden 

New Year's Eve had been a wild night (weatherwise) and we abandoned our planned walk down to the beach and saw in the New Year at home.  New Year's Day continued to be damp with intermittent showers but we did venture out for the traditional ice skating at the Royal Pavilion.

Royal Pavilion Ice-rink, New Year's Day

My eldest son, Damien, and grandsons Oisín & Shay took to the ice.... 

Oisín, Shay and Damien

....whilst my daughter-in-law, Sharon, and I looked on from the comfort of the bar!

New Year's Day
with Oisín, Shay, Damien and Sharon

2nd January was a bright sunny day with some clouds but otherwise clear blue skies, so I paid a visit to see how the allotment was doing.

Looking East towards the plot - 2 January

Looking West from the plot - 2 January

The Broad beans, sown at different times between October & December, and the garlic, red onions and shallots all appeared to be doing well.

Broad beans

Red Onions

Broad beans and garlic

Shallots - 2 January

Garlic - 2 January

Broad beans - 2 January

The dry sunny spell was shortlived and the rain and heavy mists returned on Thursday 4th January. The picture below shows the contrast between Tuesday and Thursday.

Tuesday 2 Jan on left, Thursday 4 January on right

It was very wet underfoot.

I sowed the first tomatoes at home, Tres Cantos (pink giant) and Marmande, both beefsteak varieties.  The seeds had been bought in Spain in 2021 and were reasonably successful last year, although very popular with slugs and snails. The Marmande is a bush variety but the Tres Cantos grows 1.5m tall.

Friday 13 January was a reasonably dry day and the rhubarb was coming through. I had forced some by placing an inverted black plastic recycling box over the fresh shoots.

13 January - forced rhubarb

15 January was another dry day, although cloudy, but the ground was still waterlogged.

15 January

15 January

On 16 January the tomatoes showed signs of having germinated.

16 January - tomatoes germinating

20 January, indoors in the conservatory, some of the chilli peppers were still producing fruits and the Basket of Fire, now almost three years old was flowering again!

20 January - Basket of Fire

20 January - Jalapeño

22 January was very cold and frosty but with clear blue skies.

22 January - a frosty morning

23 January was another cold day but I managed to pick some kalettes and the tomatoes at home were coming along nicely.

23 January - kalettes

23 January - tomatoes

On 26 January, I picked some Cavolo nero.  It is coming to an end just as the purple sprouting broccoli is coming on stream,but it will be a couple of weeks before that is ready and we may get a few more pickings from the cavolo nero.

26 January Tuscan kale (Cavolo nero)

Having been to Ikea to get new desks for the study, we have a lot of cardboard packaging and, as I still have some woodchip on the plot, thought this would be a good time to remove some of the weeds and couch grass and renovate the main path.  I managed a couple of metres before running out of woodchip. 

26 January - pathway repair

26 January - pathway repair

At home the crassula (Chinese Jade or money plant) are going crazy and they are so easy to propagate and we are beginning to be taken over!  We had several 30-55cms tall. At that size they can sell for £15-£25 but we advertised them on our street WhatsApp and have given them away to neighbours who seem thrilled.

26 January - Crassula

We were away for the last weekend in January but hope the weather will allow us to do some general clearing up and preparatory work in February before the main sowing season.  Apart from periods of heavy rain, January has been remarkably mild with temperatures above average.  The meteorologists have not yet decided whether the mild weather will continue or if we are due for another "beast from the east" - I hope not!

John Austin

Hove, January 2023

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