We went out to do some work on the plot this morning but it was so, so perishing with an icy wind that we didn't stay long. My fingers were frozen, but boy, did we work fast! So I thought it would be worth looking back at the same time last year to see the difference. Above is a picture of a sample bush in my soft fruit corner - there is growth, but no flowers out as yet. Here is the same date last year - plenty of leaf growth and flowers well on the way.
This is the purple sprouting broccoli - you can see there has been damage by wood pigeons, but the purple sprouts are just starting to show. And here is the broccoli on the same date last year (below the gooseberry)
I could go on - on the 3rd of April last year I posted this glorious picture of a flowering blackcurrant. We're going to be waiting a while for that this year. So after the coldest winter for 30 years, we have a cold spring, and we're clearly a few weeks behind. Still, there is life - above is a picture of the garlic, which really doesn't mind the cold and which has popped up this week. The bits you see on the soil are remnants from the compost - badly composted teabags and crushed eggshells, which apparently I don't crush enough before putting them in there!
In this kind of spring, cloches really are essential - this bed was cloched a couple of weeks ago, and today I started spinach, chard, radish and rocket underneath it. Another cloche went on today to warm the pea bed. So my advice to everyone is not to pay too much attention to when the seed packet says to plant, but to add on 2-3 weeks and wait until it warms up. I've lost too many seeds to cold to risk planting too much - today's sowings were thin so if I lose some, I've got plenty of seed left. If you can bear the temperature out there, hope you get some gardening done this weekend!