This year I remembered not to get fooled by the warm weather we've had in April. I've done that in previous years and lost beans, sweetcorn and tomatoes to the strong May winds that can whip through between the flats here. No, this year I decided to play it safe and bide my time to plant out my seedlings. Just as well because the garden has been absolutely lashed this past few days with winds gusting to 42 mph and bouts of torrential rain.
Yesterday morning I went to inspect the damage, notebook in hand. I still have a lot of over-wintered veg and herbs growing and I'd planted out a small tray of kale plants that I'd bought to fill the gap between my winter and spring sown kales. (I do eat a lot of kale!) It actually wasn't too bad - a snapped stem on the gooseberry bush, some damage to the kale plants and very bruised blossom on the quince. I'd recently bought a Tigerella tomato plant from the local City Farm, grown by a friend there. It was in the lee of my compost heap and had been well-hardened off so even that survived intact! Whew, what a relief! (My home grown toms are still safely indoors.)
I'm really enjoying a bit of seasonal eating. Instead of having empty beds over winter, I've had brassicas, spinach and kale to eat - and baby chard too if wanted. Now that the broccoli plants have been cleared (just one left), the chard underneath is growing away. Two rows have become four as I've transplanted the runts of the litter into a space of their own. And just as the broccoli is fading, the asparagus appears. One stalk poked its head up days before the others so I picked that to steam with other veg. There's another 6 stalks ready now so I'll be looking forward to dinner tomorrow! This is the first year I've been able to pick any asparagus - does it work like sweet peas that the more you pick, the more you get? Can anyone enlighten me, please?
The red russian kale is coming to an end (I'm going to miss its frilly green and purple leaves); instead I have more Cavolo Nero producing good sized leaves now and the beetroot I sowed last autumn is beginning to bulk up. I may pull a few small beets to allow the others more space although I rather like the burst of yellow that the Burpees Golden brings to the patch. Once I started thinking about dinner, I couldn't resist pulling a few carrots as well. They were tiny but so so delicious.
I wasn't going to grow potatoes this year but there were some moochers from last year that sprouted so I've planted them up in a sack and we'll see what happens. So far it's all looking very promising. This is the growth since I earthed up to the very top a couple of weeks ago.
I have to confess that I've been a bit slack in getting on with my seed sowing. I think it's because I've had (and still have) plenty of veg in the garden so there's less urgency to refill the beds. Reading around other blogs it seems everyone else has got windowsills and greenhouses stuffed full of little plants waiting to go out. Not so here. I have three trays - broad beans, tomatoes and brassicas with amaranth. Plus sweet peas for cutting. (Err, that makes four.) Today I'm going to spread the contents of my seed box across the floor, make a few decisions and get my hands dirty with soil. Once germinated, I should have seedlings to plant out by mid-June and received wisdom says that they'll catch up soon enough. That will hopefully give me time to figure out where I'm going to put it all.
Hoping for some more good weather and wishing everyone a good gardening weekend!