Amazingly the weather was warm and sunny and the local wren was singing away on the posts and being very friendly or possibly hostile, we may have a nest very close at hand.
The grass was cut which always makes the plot look so much better and the comfrey given its first cut with the leaves added to the compost heap.
We used the hazel prunings in their traditional role as pea sticks on the peas in the demonstration bed and using stakes and string gave a little support to the broad beans. They are now in full flower so the top netting was taken off to let the bees in for pollination.
The most tender plants we grow, the dwarf French beans [Slenderette], courgettes [Parthenon and Rugosa Friulina] and marrow [Tiger Cross], have been hardening off for 2 weeks now in the garden so were planted out and watered in. We always plant the veg in a shallow depression so the water is directed to the root of the plant. They are hungry veg so some well rotted manure was added to the soil since we have no compost left.
Parthenon can set fruit without being pollinated – there is no need for male flowers to be present so it can produce fruit early in the season or in cool weather. Rugosa Friulina is a traditional Venetian courgette. It has a warty yellow skin and is apparently one of the tastiest you can grow.
We set up two metre square pallet beds this year to show what can be grown in a very small space. These are fully planted up now so it will be interesting to see how much we can crop from them.
We were given a packet of pumpkin seeds [ Zucca marina di Chioggia] direct from Italy so one of these was planted out and given the shelter of the asparagus bed.
The asparagus bed was always an experiment in growing it on such a cold and windy plot and after the bad winters, I was pessimistic about this year’s crop. A thorough weeding of the asparagus bed showed signs of life on more of the plants than it had seemed, but they are late this year in producing spears and the crop is small. By now these plants should be in full vigour. The variety we planted was designed for cool climates but perhaps ‘cool’ means warmer than our local climate.
We are now using the Japanese onions which were planted as sets in October. They survive our winters with no difficulty so a good crop to grow. They are not for keeping so we use them as soon as the bulbs start to fatten up.
We also picked the first of the strawberries from our new plants and did a taste comparison between Gariguette and Symphony – Symphony won!
Jobs for next week: Weeding everywhere! Succession sowing of salads, turnips and beetroot