Happy to have made it out of January with our fingers and toes intact, we now enter one of the most exciting times of the year to be a food grower!
The 1st of February marked Imbolc, also known as St Brigid’s Day. On this day we are exactly midway between the Winter solstice and the Spring equinox; the shortest day of the year and the day when night and day are equal in length. Imbolc traditionally marks a turn in the season, when we see the first signs of new life, the lambing season begins, and hopeful snowdrops and crocus’ burst up from the ground. Pregnant with ideas gardeners also sow seeds in the soil and put trust in their promise of life and growth.
At the Skip Garden we sowed mustards and broad beans - cold hardy and much loved in our cafe - to replenish our polytunnel full of salads that have weathered winter magnificently. We also sowed tomatoes and chillies with lots of excitement. Needing a minimum temperature of 10 degrees to germinate successfully we wouldn’t be able to do this without heated propagators in the chilly Skip Garden. But anyone with a windowsill that gets good light in a warm home can get started on their tomatoes and chillies now. These early tomatoes and chillies, with the burst of taste and heavy crop that they bring, are well worth the effort!
We look forward to many of our garden based projects coming out of their winter dormancy too. Twilight Gardening, our fortnightly evening gardening project starts up in March. We invite local workers, residents, and young people to come and volunteer with us on Wednesday evenings once a fortnight, weeding, sowing, and everything in between. No Skip Garden activity would be complete without some food, so we sit down for a delicious communal meal afterwards, made by our chef. You can sign up for these volunteer sessions here.
We also welcome back primary schools to our lunchtime Natural Explorers workshops in February. These workshops offer gardening, cooking, wildlife care, and outdoor education sessions for local classes of 30. With so much to discover in our little garden, the children leave full of ideas and, more often than not, a seed they have sown and the promise of their first harvest.
The gardener’s mind is always a few months ahead so as we work with these small seeds our minds burst with the green, clamouring wildness of life still to come.