It pays me to remember that I mustn't compare the state of play in the veg patch with progress elsewhere; after all, it's not a competition but it is really useful to see what other, more experienced gardeners have already planted out or got on the go. It's interesting to see what's happening in different parts of the UK and, in Canada, the Urban Veggie Garden is just experiencing the first flush of Spring. Early sowing can depend on access to a greenhouse (which I don't have) or perhaps having wide windowsills to accommodate seed trays indoors (I'm deficient in that area as well).
I confess, there hasn't been as much sowing progress as I would have hoped (I've been spending a fair bit of time digging out weeds, moving raised beds forward to maximise space and putting a scaffolding plank alongside the path, on the right above). But with this unseasonably warm weather, I have to remind myself that it is only just May so there's still
Back outside, Onions (Hyred and Snowball, above) have been growing in the veg patch for the past month, with Fiorentino Spinach planted in between the red onions (below). The first two rows of Spinach are ready to be picked as baby leaves and the next two rows of seeds were sown over the bank holiday weekend:
Potatoes (Blue Danube, Charlotte and Vivaldi) have sprung up from potatoes mistakenly left in the ground last year (gosh, I feel I'm really baring my soul here! - the veg patch has practically planted itself) but I have actually myself sown three varieties of beetroot (Perfect 3 and Cheltenham green tops for myself and Chioggia for my friend who runs our local deli and likes this variety, which I don't.) The fox chased a mouse over that bed last Friday night, scattering the soil, so it will be a test to see if I can tell the difference as (or if) they grow!
I'd like to have shown the progress in the garlic bed, with 3 rows of Amsterdam carrots companionably sown in between. Sadly, this is not be just yet as a fox (the same one?) dug deep into the bed last Monday and disturbed all the planting. It would seem he was (successfully) after a bird that had probably flown down to pull up my garlic! I guess that's nature for you and, judging by the wing feathers, I think it was a blue jay. Very beautiful. (Sorry to be so macabre with the photo. I didn't know what it was and wanted to identify the bird, so please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.)
The disturbance has blown my garlic experiment out of the water: I'd planted a row of cloves saved from last year's home-grown garlic, a row of store-bought Porcelain Garlic (Music) and a couple of rows of T&M Sicilian Red garlic. I'd hoped to compare the success rate of the different sources. Now who knows what will pop up where? Fingers crossed it isn't as bad as it looks!
I have a couple of beds waiting to be planted up at the end of the month with the courgettes, etc, and buckets of rescued red orache (atriplex rubra) - self-seeded from one tiny garden sale plant. The seedlings were carefully transferred to recycled flower shop buckets before I dug over the bed. (I hate abandoning plants, and will do the same with my beetroot thinnings.) The intention is to replant these around the raised beds with plenty of other flowers to liven up the view.
I've previously written about the rampant growing going on in the herb bed and now the horseradish has flowered (above). Oh my goodness, whatever next! I have no idea what this plant will do next but have read online of people mowing it down to keep it under control - which seems a bit drastic! Equally, I don't know if this is what should be happening with a second year plant and if the roots will still be edible. (If anyone does know, I'd appreciate the advice.)
Elsewhere in the herb bed, evidence of last year's self-seeding is apparent: parsley, coriander, fennel and sunflowers mingle happily together with a few strawberries (from runners). Actually, I rather like this - at least for now!
That's probably enough for today. I'll save news of the fruit and flowers for tomorrow but I'd like to leave you with this photo which fills me with hope: if I'm right, those are ladybird eggs on my fennel so the greenfly on my red Orache had better watch out!