This is almost more for me than you, but I love sharing my garden and I thought you’d like to see the big picture of how the garden is coming along for the season. This is the key to it all. I am running about a week behind where I normally am, but I’m not panicking much. I am getting there. The end is in sight. But what is the end, as the garden is a never ending task master. But I think at this point having the plants all planted would give me the satisfaction of getting to the end of something before the next wave of busy hits the garden.
Oh my gosh – this is very much a case of worst house in the best street. It is the bed closest to the house so I can nip out and get what a need for dinner. However at the moment I wouldn’t want to. The parsley is bolting and has aphids, I can’t find the chives for the weeds, the oregano and lemon balm are attempting to take over. And don’t start me on the horseradish in the middle of the bed – I found out from two separate sources the day after I planted them that it spreads – Doh! The thyme needs replaces and the soil needs a jolly good love. I’ve been gathering together a collection of new herbs and they are desperate to move into their new home. But I think this is the last bed on the list to get love for the pure and simple reason: I’m procrastinating. It is a big job.
This year I am doing more poor internal body a favour this year and are toning down the hot chillies. I’ll have the more mild ones and a few with a kick. I’m determined to get the padron chilli experience right this year, now that I know you are supposed to eat them when they are small and green if you are looking for the roulette experience for the one in ten burst of searingly hot chilli amongst nine completely harmless ones. When you let them get big then they are all very hot indeed! But all hope at this point is resting on one very tiny seedling as that was all that came up, despite repeated attempts all spring, I am also going for more normal peppers as our overwintering supply this year didn’t quite stretch. And today at the garden centre I pick up a curious little plant called Black Olive Chilli with no other information at all. I shouldn’t go to the garden centre. It is quite dangerous.
My soil thermometer is currently easing my guilt. I’m running late in the garden this season, and this is the latest I have ever planted things out. But the last frost day isn’t the only day to plant things out, it is the first safe day. However my thermometer is wavering between 14.5 and 18.5 and corn does like a warm soil so I don’t mind letting them wait a little – until I’m good and ready. I have three kinds this year – normal eating sweetcorn, popcorn and Painted Mountain Corn, which I’m not even sure what to do with it once I’ve grown it, but it looked so pretty in the catalogue. I have my corns planned to go as far apart as I can so they don’t cross. The sweetcorn goes in the crop rotation cycle at the back of the garden so it doesn’t shade anything out. The popcorn goes at the back of the odds and sods bed and I’m going to put the mountain corn in with the pumpkins in a two sisters kind of a way. It was either that or dig yet another bed and this season that is not an option.
4 LEAFY GREENS
So far this bed has spinach in it that is almost ready to start taking a few leaves from. There should also be my rainbow beets but mice got my first seeds and then the second lot didn’t germinate and so we are on attempt three with new seeds – so far so good. I normally put celery and celeriac in there too, but I don’t have a lot of luck with them and this year the seeds didn’t grow. I think it may be time to refresh much of my seed collection. So now I have to decide if I want to grow them or not, because I’ll have to buy some seedlings….
5 RHUBARB & GLOBE ARTICHOKE
These are in there permanently. The rhubarb didn’t even die down over the winter and the artichoke barely took a break at all. I need to give it a good feed with some well rotted chicken poop mixed into some compost. You can see why I am putting this off a little. That chicken poop is stinky! But I must find time to make some of my amazing rhubarb muffins. They are delish!
6 CUCUMBER & MELONS
I am determined to get succession planting sorted this year. Normally I have the first wave of more cucumbers than I know what to do with and then Christmas comes and I forget to sow any more and then we run out. Well not this year. But before then I need to build a climbing frame so I can make the most of the space and then I can plant out my cucumbers, gherkins and melons as they all love to climb!
7 ZUCCHINI & SQUASH
I am learning to be restrained with these. I’ll only put a couple in and I WILL harvest daily while they are little. No marrows for me this year. I have found growing the zucchini up as sturdy pole, tying it in as it grows is a great space saver, which will give me more room in the garden for the other squash to roam. Especially my new African Gem Squash because I have no idea if this is prolific or not.
This hasn’t been the best year for peas. I should be snacking on them happily as I toil in the garden, but no. Not this year. The peas have been decimated by the birds the moment they pop up and don’t stand a chance at success. After three attempts I finally have what would normally be my Christmas peas going well and I wouldn’t ordinarily plant any more until autumn as it is generally too hot. But I feel short changed so I’ve snuck in another row – so here’s hoping.
This is my original asparagus bed and so it contains the oldest crowns and I can help myself as much as I want. However as we live on a swamp, some crowns didn’t make it. So I took some of the seeds that grew on the fronds and sowed a few each season until they stopped dying. So now I figure I have swamp tolerant crowns and we are just one year away from being able to eat them all. Yummo!
10 ONION & GARLIC
I have rust in my garlic and it sucks! I have been working hard to get on top of it, spraying with a food safe fungicide and feeding the plants each week in the desperate hope of having a harvest. Last year I had rust and only have heartedly tackled it with a she’ll be right attitude, but it wasn’t. I threw them all out, completely bypassing the kitchen as there was no bulbs to speak of and to be honest I don’t like to speak of it. The onions are doing well though – getting really fat! They are already well beyond my worst harvest so this is great news.
Come again soon – this was in danger of being so long you’d be as overwhelmed in my garden as I feel right now. Part two to follow very soon.
Sarah the Gardener : o )