Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Shortest Day

It’s come at last!  Finally, the days will stop getting shorter, and the mornings will stop getting darker.  The year has turned, and we can look to a new season, a new year and new possibilities with optimism and hope.

This day last year was perishing.  I usually try and sow something on the shortest day in order to celebrate the new season ahead, but last year all I could do was scatter some onion seeds in a lunchbox (only two of which germinated).  This was from my notebook:

It's -4 degrees and snowing hard tonight in Malahide.  I think this morning was the coldest yet; my hands were numb after marching down the hill to the station.  We huddled over a tin of Roses in work, clutching mugs of tea.  I walked home from the train in a blizzard.  My raised beds are barely visible and the birds must be starving; they emptied all of the feeders in less than two days.”

This year is a whole other kettle of fish.  Twelve degrees in the polytunnel today – positively balmy!  Last year I couldn’t have gotten a spade in the ground, but this afternoon I planted the last of the garlic in a raised bed - two bulbs of garlic ‘Christo’ and two of elephant garlic saved from this years crop.  Elephant garlic is basically garlic on steroids, as you can see from the picture above – it’s massive!  I sowed five cloves last Autumn, and so I had five enormous bulbs this summer.  Three have been scoffed – it’s a nice mild flavour, you can also roast it whole but I never got around to that – and these last two bulbs should give me double the crop next year.  It’s the kind of thing that you can’t buy in the shops, so it’s good to grow yourself.

I have lots of plans to dig beds and collect seaweed over the Christmas, so fingers crossed for more of this mild, fine weather.
Happy New Year everyone!


  1. We have been ridiculously warm this year. Yesterday we had a record high of 77 F!

  2. Here too Becky - they're predicting 14 degrees (we're celcius, but I think that's about 57F) for tomorrow, which could be the warmest Christmas Day in Ireland on record. And this is after last year, when we had one of the coldest on record.
    Have a fantastic Christmas!