Spring has definitely sprung --at least here. Planting my zucchinis, chives and onions as well as sowing radishes and hollyhocks in the warm Florida sun takes me back to our sowing and planting in Irish "spring" conditions. In the same way we had to learn about the right season for every vegetable and fruit in Ireland, I have to get used to the right timing here.I couldn't get broccoli plants last week. Apparently it's a winter vegetable here.
The Irish weather changes rapidly, not just in spring which officially starts on 1 February. Sometimes you have four seasons in one day...well, at least three, maybe not the snow. In all those years I spent in Hibernia, it never really felt like spring on that day. There may have been a bit of sunshine quickly wiped out by dark clouds and ensuing hail. Most St. Patrick Days (March 17) more smacked of winter and prohibited us watching parades standing in one spot for too long. Every year by the end of January, my housekeeper would declare: "There is a stretch in the evenings...Still freezing cold but thank God for little mercies."
Early potatoes could be put in the ground already although in the following years we preferred to have these in our greenhouse too--just to be sure, to be sure! A greenhouse is very useful, even the poly-tunnels that most professional growers and some of our friends used. We were planning to get a green house up later that year which we had brought over in our gigantic move (16 x 8 meters). For now we sowed most vegetables like carrots, beans, peas, cauliflower, zucchinis etc. on little 1-2 inch deep trays which we kept in part of the house that was coolish but warmer than the outside world. We had built this extension or "lean-to" on the north side of the house facing the yard. It served multiple functions: here we took off our dirty boots and jackets; it housed the washer and dryer as well as two huge tub sized basins useful for cleaning vegetables (and sometimes very dirty kids)as well as plucking chickens and geese. Since the extension ran the full length of the house, there was ample of space for the kids to play on a rainy day and also to store the plant trays. And later an apple press for making cider.