With less than 10 hours a day of sunlight, plants languish. Fresh sowings and small seedlings, particularly, have not enough leaf cover to convert the scant sunlight into significant growth. Larger plants from earlier sowings will get by, and even put on weight (especially those from the Brassica family), but compared to the heady, fifteen and sometimes sixteen hour days of summer, the garden is moving very sloooowly.
Which is why the young garlic shoots seem so cheerful. Shoved into the cold, damp soil a few weeks ago, they happily pop their heads above the parapet, and each day as I walk past, they've put on an extra centimetre or two, oblivious to the cold and the damp and the frosts and the wind and the straggling vegies around them.
And this Saturday is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of them all, with a meagre nine hours of light, after which our side of the planet begins to tilt back toward the sun.
So maybe the garlic has a reason to be cheerful!