It was last week when the snow was still covering the vegetable patch that I noticed that my late autumn planted garlic had decided to brave life above ground. There are a few, "no shows," but most of the cloves which I planted are now pushing their green shoots through the ground, avidly seeking the lengthening daylight hours. With the snow having melted away to be replaced by almost incessant rain, the shoots are perhaps not quite so obvious this week. It is good to see these first signs of growth in the vegetable garden.
The next vegetable harbingers of spring will probably be the chives and the rhubarb plants. I have often been tempted to force a crown of rhubarb. I am told that the forced early sticks of rhubarb are particularly sweet. The Victorian gardener was extremely keen on forced rhubarb and developed ceramic forcers for the task. Replicas of these nineteenth century horticultural artefacts can still be purchased. They do look the part, but an old metal bucket probably does the same job at no expense. It just looks a bit, well - untidy I suppose.