Fruit & Vegetables
Jerusalem artichokes, Purple sprouting broccoli, Brussels sprouts and tops, Savoy, white, green and red cabbages, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chard, chicory, endive, curly, pink fir apple potato, curly kale, seakale, leeks, rhubarb (forced), salsify, seakale, spring greens, swede, turnips.
Signs of Spring
Join a Toad Patrol – The first warmish evening in February is often the trigger for common toads (now not nearly so common) to begin their journey to their ancestral ponds to breed (large and deep ponds preferred). In the process thousands get squashed by vehicles. But thanks to volunteer wardens at over 600 strategic crossings, many hundreds are saved. Further information: Froglife www . froglife . org
Lesser celandines – known as Spring Messenger in Dorset – begin to flower around the 21st (some were out in Shaftesbury, Dorset, as early as 27th January). Their beautiful bright yellow flowers reach out eagerly to the sun and enliven the dreariest of places – roadside verges, “wasteland”, dull gardens are transformed by their fast-spreading carpets. Gardeners hate them because they are successful. But what could be a sunnier and more welcome sign of spring?
Up the Ivy: “Up the ash-tree climbs the ivy, Up the ivy climbs the sun,” wrote John Betjeman in ‘Upper Lambourne”. Ivy berries are an important source of food for birds and small mammals from January to May when there are no other berries around. Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Redwing, Fieldfare, Ring Ousel, Robin, Blackcap and Starling are all beneficiaries. Woodpigeons tend to take the fruit before it has ripened. (Birds and Berries, Barbara & David Snow, T & A.D. Poyser, 1988). Many small birds roost in warm ivy bowers when all else is leafless.
Daffodils are getting earlier and many out already.