Posted by: kathandroger | February 28, 2011

Les jeunes pousses

I’ve always preferred the French word pousses to the English shoots. It conjures up the image of little seedlings gently pushing aside the earth and entering the world. It is a lovely time of year too as life returns to the garden. We’ve got pousses everywhere at the moment!

We are trying to learn from last year and not go too early with the seedlings, so to date have onions (giant), tomatoes of varying varieties, lettuce, geraniums and herbs growing on windowsills around the house. We have a little plastic greenhouse, but are not confident about its robustness in the frost, so have preferred to keep things indoors. I also have some chillis in the propagator which are taking forever to germinate and will probably sow some courgettes and squash in a couple of weeks.

We’ve pousses  in the cellar too…

This is our first attempt at endives. They don’t look quite as uniform and pretty as the ones you buy, but they taste just as good! It is also nice to have some salad greens at this time of year before the lettuce is ready. They are a bit lengthy to cultivate, though not difficult, especially if you have a cellar. We sowed them in the garden in the summer, then chopped off the tops and dug them up in late autumn, replanting them in pots covered with plant pots to ensure all light is excluded. And hey presto, we have endives!

Things in the pea patch are not going so well, however. We noticed on Friday lots of little holes where the peas were….mice! The classic anti mice treatment appears to be to soak your peas in paraffin before planting. We didn’t really fancy that and also it was a bit late as they had already been planted and we assumed there were still some in the ground. Another prevention method is apparently to cover the area in spiky twigs. Aha, we thought, we have just the thing – lots of acacia twigs – so off we went to create an impenetrable carpet of spines. The next morning I sent Roger out to look, afraid of finding dozens of mice impaled on twigs. In the event….just more holes! Better think again on that one….

In the garden the snowdrops have gone over, the crocuses are in full bloom and the first daffodils have opened…

The blue tits are still spending most of their time on the fat balls, but I expect very soon they will be checking out the nesting boxes Roger has been making and preparing for spring…

Still no news on Minty’s lambs I’m afraid…watch this space…


  1. your photo of the bird is beautifull !

  2. Mice are not an uncommon problem on Blandford allotments! I resorted to planting out “pea pousses” after sowing the seeds in compost in the cardboard inners of toilet rolls – cheap and efficient root trainers and they rot in the ground. Oh, and I sow my parsnip seeds the same way – just plant them out when the first hint of root appears at the bottom of the tube. This method does require some forward planning… and hoarding of loo rolls!

    • Tim – a good idea! Only prob may be the quantity of toilet rolls required, though given the amount of jerusalem artichokes and parsnips we are eating at the moment it might not be such an obstacle!

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