Frosty Parsnips and Gooseberries

It seems almost as exciting as snow these days, we don’t get much frost on the south coast – we have had it two days running now. It soon melted in the parts where the low sun got to, the shade remaining cold and hard. The first day of no rain and the clear skies, while making it really cold, have brightened everything up. We have been living (indoors of course) with wet, cold, dark days.

I used this chance to go up to the plot and to undertake the large job of moving gooseberry plants, something I have been building up on for the last weeks. Before I did that, I started a fire to burn off some of the Christmas boxes we have collected over the last weeks, remembering that the bin men are not due to collect again until some time in March (not strictly true but it will be nearly a month between bin collections I’m sure). That warmed things up a bit.

I possibly did not need warming up as digging deep holes to pull out the gooseberries and digging deep holes to plant them in was probably enough. I’ve never transplanted a gooseberry bush before but I figured if I left it until they were dormant, dug all around them and eased them out, and then plonked them back in another hole – all should be ok. Spring time will tell, I fear some roots have been left in the ground. I added some dried fish/blood/bone mix to the holes and I firmed everything down. I also gave them a pruning while I was at it.

The whole reason for doing this is to get all the fruit bushes in one place so that it is easier to net them over in the summer time. It has left quite a large space which I will be putting onion sets in to join the over wintering ones already there. By moving them, it has opened up the end of the plot quite a bit and we’ve gained ground that was previously a bit wasted between the gooseberries and the fence.

I took advantage of the (cold) good weather to dig the parsnips in the garden. These were last year’s seed, directly sown in ground that only days before had been a lawn. With no shops open (in a time when lockdown really did mean lockdown) all I could do was dig it over, rake it about a lot, and put the seed in. They have been there ever since. While they are not the largest or straightest parsnips in the world, I’m still quite pleased with them.

That has cleared out the bed in the garden, with just kale, chard and spinach left. We had the last of the turnips the other day, plenty of turnips still at the plot. This opens up the bed to allow me to continue with edging with the sleepers, when the ground is a bit drier though.

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