Friday, March 30, 2012
It's difficult time of year though, even if the weather is near summer, as it is currently (well over 20 deg), it is still impossible to sow many things. So I had to be content with quite a bit of digging and tidying, sowing a few bits - more peas, including some seed swap ones - Goodlife from A4A sent me Champion of England climbers, and some Scandinavian peas (Skansk Margart, also climbers) - parsnips from my own saved seed, have to see how those go (I think they were either White Gem or Guernesey and it's a pity that I received some free parsnip seed this year when I bought my seeds) - some flowers (mixed seeds, some nigella and zinneas). I managed to shift the enormous manure pile that was cluttering up the top bed, digging in half of it and spreading half of it around to other places (my shoulders are sore today). Tidied up the flower beds and the edges. Watered as it is so warm. Actually took time to sit and admire :-)
And to take some pictures.
As usual the artichokes fascinate me. This is the 5 year old specimen - it has been divided up, then buried under a ton of manure then frozen solid in February's bid cold snap. But it's still there are going great guns:
I picked a load of sprouting broccoli, in a week it has given so many sprouts! It must be the warm weather. Unfortunately the plants are rather fragile, and have been damaged over winter, they are leaning very precariously depsite my efforts at earthing them up. I am going to try and get some seeds of this and sow more as this has been a marvellous crop, at a time when nothing else is around.
The fruit is also enjoying the sun: The raspberries have their first leaves - you can see the spiky gooseberries just behind them. A bit worried that I still have gooseberries in the freezer! Might be time to make a little jam and use them up, methinks.
First flowers on the strawberries - this one is part of 6 new plants planted last autumn.
I do like this bed, everything has gone into it bit by bit and some things accidentally! The rhubarb is in the foreground, coming up like mad now, and behind, through the cheeky white marcissus you can see the young artichoke plants. 2 were sown 18 months ago and the other one is a baby of the old plants. They look very healthy and with a bit of luck I might get one or two globes. I know that next year will be their peak and from then on I will get a lot of artichokes from them. This bed also has purple honeywort which the bumble bees love, and a rose and a lavender bush as well as wild growing mint and parsley. I sowed a little nigella and some zinnea into it yesterday too.
The rhubarb chard gave nothing over winter but it is a hardy little beggar and it's coming up again. It really was beautiful, the red veins showing clearly in the bright sun, I couldn't resist a snapshot. There are 4 plants but we've not eaten a stick of chard yet! Hopefully soon...
One last shot before going home time: The foreground (with my shadow!!!) shows the onion bed, brown Stuttgarters (or Sturon? not sure...) which are already up and the red Barons just starting on their left. On the right, you can see the garlic bed with its lush green foliage and over the back the ploughed up potato bed. One or two tiny potato leaves are coming through, once it is earthed up and mulched it will look the bees' knees. What you see on this shot is about 1/3 of the plot, the lower end, where the fruit bed is. This year it has alliums and potatoes.
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