Posted by: Naomi Slade | December 21, 2010

Of Mice and Propagators

Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas!

I keep humming ‘I’ve got a brand new heated propagator’ to myself, to the tune of ‘Brand New Combine Harvester’, although I confess I am having trouble with the next line. ‘I’ll give you some seeds’, probably. (Makes a nice change from ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’, anyhow). It is a shiny new window-sill one from The Stewart Company and I am looking forward to trying it out. But it is the winter solstice in the coldest December for 30 years (apparently) so it will be a bit short of light and warmth for growing anything for a while.

Back in my callow youth, I lightly scoffed at the idea of propagators but with age comes wisdom and enlightenment. There is no better way to turbo-charge seedlings and they rocket out of the soil with the sort of speed that we in gardening are not often privileged to enjoy.

I was given a Sankey one for my birthday a while back and it has served me well. It was on my desk (don’t ask – it is to do with light levels) and the other day I heard a scrabble and looked up to see a slightly vexed whiskery face looking at me. Hard to tell who was most surprised. A mouse had climbed through the vents; they were just out of reach and he couldn’t get a proper gnaw going on to make a hole and climb out so he was quite lucky I found him. I think there may be some future in the heated propagator mouse trap model, rather like a lobster pot.

Other than designing elaborate and cosy mouse traps, it is nothing doing on the gardening front. Like many people I have been waiting for the ground to thaw enough to get my last few daffodils and the garlic in for well over a month. It was late but allowable when all this cold started. Having decided that pots are the only way, the compost is now indoors in the kitchen defrosting…as you do.

It is dawn as I write this. It looks like a Christmas card outside, with frosty roofs, bare trees and lights twinkling on the hill behind. Merry Christmas everybody, and a Happy Gardening New Year!

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