Monday, April 28, 2008

A big gardening weekend. Well a big gardening 3 hours you could say, but it is better than nothing.
I had already pottered for an hour or so on Saturday with the seedlings: transplanted the small tomato plants from a tray into pots, resowed some sprouts as they are not working too well, and decided to sow a few more melons and pumpkins. I now have a huge collection of baby plants just itching to go outside, but they can't until after the famous "Saintes de Glaces", which are 3 days 11, 12 and 13 May when traditionally there is bad weather. I will however keep an eye on the weather reports, global warming changing these things somewhat.

I suppose I have about 30 tomatoes (yes got a bit carried away), 4 sweet peppers, 6 courgettes, 6 pumpkins, about 8 melon plants, 12 corn (ah God, the bloody cat tried to eat them! So I constructed a little plastic house around them to stop feline ravages - also sowed 3 more in a paranoid fit), some broccoli, some red cabbage, 6 rainbow chard and several flowers.
Anyway on Sunday the family was lethargic, the rain had stopped so I thought sod it, I will go and dig something. So I got down the plot and stood face to face with this:

Yes slightly terrifying, I grant you. 2 hours later I had dug it all over, taken out the weeds (well a pathetic attempt to in any case) and buried two bin bags full of horse manure under the soil. which gives us this:

hmm not quite the exact same point of view but you get the idea. This will be the 3 Sisters patch: sweetcorn, drying beans and pumpkin.
Quite exciting, I picked my first rhubarb and a scarole lettuce. Harvest! I made the rhubarb into a mixed fruit pie and it was very tasty (I got 3 medium sized stems off it).
I wanted to show off my strawberries, which are in full flower:

These are perpetuals, Mara des Bois, so I guess in a few weeks we will have our first strawberries.
And this lovely flower came into my garden bed. I think it is self seeded.

I have got the folks at A4A trying to identify it for me!!
****STOP PRESS! One of the nice people at A4A has identified this:
it's an annual, called a Cerinthe major purpurascens - common name Honeywort****

In other news I still have the tomato and bean beds to dig, so I will have muscles by mid-May! the early spuds have come up through the ground, they don't need earthing up yet but soon...
Oh and a friend has given me a redcurrant bush! So I will have to pop down an plant that this week. Long weekend next weekend so some more gardening opportunities at hand ;-)

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You're going to plant 6 courgettes??....SIX !!!!

Are you mad?....Or do you just really, really like ratatouille?

hmm well I sowed 6 and they have all come up. But it's true that 6 may be a touch of insanity. If they look healthy I might give two away to my friend from work who has a big garden. I have got yellow ones and green ones!! Still I can make them into ratatouille (yum yum) and relish and keep them in jars for the winter! (I like stuffed flowers too! which cuts the number of fruit of course). I am going to grow them in an experimental lasagne bed - as in my experience courgettes are pretty much indesctructible.
Can't you freeze courgettes?

Also, you've been tagged. Read more at my blog. Thanks.
thank you for the tag marigold! always much appreciated :-)
yeah you can freeze courgettes, although they are often a bit floppy once you do that, but fine for soups or gratins. If all goes well, I will make big batches of ratatouille with my own courgettes, onions and tomatoes and boil them up and bottle them, it's a bit long but then you can enjoy your summer veg through the winter ;-) I also make spicy salsa too, not so much chutney as our lot don't really eat it.
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