Well it’s official, this January is the mildest since 1906. Still it felt a bit brisk first thing, with an air temperature of -3, but no ground frost. But we had sun, glorious sun, the solar panels were singing, and the view of the snow covered Pyrenees was positively stunning.
In the garrigue the almond blossom is already out, the rosemary is ready for harvesting. Down in the village the mimosa is in flower with its wonderful marzipan aroma.
Incredibility the rau ram is sprouting in the poly tunnel, as is the tarragon. The winter thyme and the ordinary thyme that I sowed last week are already showing signs of movement, Caroline’s parsley and coriander are shooting up, and yes they look good enough to eat.
Fueled by the sunshine I have had a busy day, my recent blood test shows that I have low vitamin D, hardly surprising in the middle of winter, so I took the opportunity to spend as much time in the sun as possible, by 2pm I was in my shirt sleeves not bad for January.
The lavender and lavandin cuttings I did last Autumn have, mostly, taken well. I potted up the lavender angustifolia B7 and the white lavender, and the lavandin Grosso. The lanvadin Super roots didn’t look so strong so that will have to wait,also I need to take some more cuttings of the aspic lavender and the dentata, looks like we will have a good selection this year especially with the lovely stoechas we take cuttings from our garrigue below Montrouch. If you want to now the difference between lavender and lavandin Wiers Lane Lavender have written a good outline
Now for some reason i have never had much luck with chives, everyone says they are simple to grow. I remember growing them as a kid with no problems, so I did some research and found the ideal planting season is February to April. Maybe that is the problem; quite often I hold off the delicate annuals like Basil until after the last frosts, usually that is late April, so maybe I have been planting them to late. Well the last days of January are almost February, so I did a big tray of chives, a new variety called strago from Agrosemens our preferred supplier for herb seeds. (If you read this guys I will happily take cash or cheques for payment). Fingers crossed.
I popped in a few coriander seeds, Caroline has already up potted a load and the rest have got a reddish leaves from the cold so a new supply is needed.
And last but not least the tarragons in the poly tunnel are already shooting up; they are a clear three weeks ahead of the mother plants in the barrels outdoors. Pulling the plants apart I was amazed at the number of shoots per plant. If you are interested I wrote a quick guide to growing French tarragon a few years back.
Now that the poly tunnel is slowly filling up it is no time for complacency. a mild January can so easily be followed by a bitter February, or like lasst year a freezing late April. It is time to get the ends back on the poly tunnel.