Thursday, 20 February 2014

Despite or maybe because of the weather ...

Posted by Rosie

... I am not as far behind in the garden as I might otherwise have been.  We may been battered by storms this winter seeing enough wind and rain to last all year but there have been short drier spells in between (and wind is great then for drying out the soil) and we have had no snow and hardly any frosts.  I have managed to manure and cover most of the beds, prune back and tie in fruit bushes and canes, prepare a double bean trench which I am steadily filling with kitchen waste and I am still harvesting leeks, Brussels (my best year ever for these and I only had a few plants!), Cavolo Nero, parsnips and lamb's lettuce:


Winter Harvest

And of course I have the polytunnel which has really come into it's own these last few months.


Polytunnel - Feb 2014
I am harvesting purple sprouting broccoli, turnips, parsley, calabrese and chard.  Perhaps more importantly I have stuff coming on to fill in the Empty Gap between the outdoor veg finishing and the summer veg starting.  Waiting in the wings I have leeks, broad beans (about to flower), peas, mangetout, onions and even some early spuds - I actually planted these in late summer hoping to get new potatoes for Christmas.  They didn't grow so I planted mangetout on top of them ... and now I have potatoes growing under my mangetout!

Of course I cannot be complacent.  On warm days such as we had yesterday when it almost got hot in the polytunnel I have to firmly remind myself that it is still only February.  Last year we had our coldest weather and rather a lot of snow in March and that could still happen this year.  We can be battered by freezing winds in April and suffer frosts as late as May.  However I am definitely a nothing ventured, nothing gained sort of a gardener:  remember those lettuces I planted out a couple of weeks ago - they are doing fine ... with protective plastic nearby in case I need it.


February Lettuces

Simon has just bought me some covered seed tray propagators to start off some early seeds and my trusty polytunnel book suggests various seeds I can sow now, straight into the borders.  It is always a risk starting early but one thing I know for sure - if I DON'T sow the seeds I definitely WON'T get that extra early harvest.


Mammasaurus and How Does Your Garden Grow?

26 comments :

  1. Wow, just look at all that veg! I'm a little envious of you there I have to say. I've barely managed anything due to the incessant rain but am hoping for better weather soon :)

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    1. I am sure better weather is just around the corner and this wet and windy winter will be nothing more than a distant memory (fingers crossed and all that).

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  2. well done - very little happening in my veg patch - thank goodness for all the veg in the freezer. we still have chard - nom, and PSB and Kale both of which we are sick of the sight of - luckily the chickens think otherwise :)

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    1. My outside chard is not growing but will do as soon as the weather warms a bit and I have given up doing PSB outside as it never thrives. Must remember to feed some kale to my chickens ...although when I threw them some cabbage leaves recently they simply danced around them for a while and then ignored them! They do however adore the leek tops I feed them.

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  3. I am so jealous! How long does it take you to do your gardening each week? Looks like a lot of work.

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    1. I'm not sure how long I spend gardening each week - not as much as I could, that much I do know and my garden could certainly never be called pristine! I do have some volunteer helpers at various times and that helps me keep on top of things.

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  4. Oooo polytunnel envy! I'd love to grow my own veg like that - you look so organised too! Such bounties - I bet you have been cooking up a storm!

    Thanks ever so much for joining in and sharing - fascinating to see x

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    1. Getting a polytunnel was my number one priority when we moved to France and after 6 years I finally feel I am making full use of it. We don't buy much veg now having supplies in the polytunnel, in the garden and frozen/bottled. It's a good feeling :)

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  5. PS. I have book-marked your Gite site to show Papasaurus when he get's home - maybe we'll meet this year!

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    1. Thank you - we'd love to see you here. Ask away if you have questions you want answers to!

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  6. Wow that is impressive gardening, and a whole lot of Veg! Just been looking at your eco gite holiday too and it looks fantastic. We are staying in the UK this year but will bear in mind for next year as it sounds lovely! :) xx

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    1. Thank you Caroline - this has been my best year to date with the polytunnel with the only major failing being Spring Cabbages because it was too mild for them! Thank you also for looking at the website - we'd love to see you here next year. Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

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  7. I dream of a poly tunnel and the space to grow masses of vegetables! Home grown is so good :)

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    1. I had previously had a small green house but a polytunnel is a whole new thing altogether and I would recommend anyone getting one if they can - they extend what you can grow so much! We buy so little veg now and like you say - home grown is best.

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  8. WOW!!!! impressive!! you totally know what you are doing. looks awesome!

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    1. Thank you - I am certainly getting better with the polytunnel but it has taken a while for me to realise it's full potential. I am sure there is still room for improvement though.

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  9. I am so envious of your polytunnel, I would LOVE one. Great that you can possibly start think of growing things now is so great.

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    1. I had wanted one for years too - it was the second big thing we bought when we moved over to France. The first was a digger for Simon!

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  10. Oh fabulous it looks amazing and you seem so well ahead of yourself too! Look at those little lettuces coming up already. The polytunnel sounds like it's going to be brilliant although you're doing a sterling job already :)

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    1. I did cheat and buy the lettuces as seedlings ;)

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  11. Wow, it sounds like you've been amazingly productive and I'm sure you'll reap the rewards in a few months :) I'm also eager to get things planted, but like you, I have to remind myself that we haven't seen the last of the nasty weather yet. Reading about all the delicious things you're growing made me feel a little hungry :)

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    1. It's raining this morning so it looks like any gardening I do today will be limited to the polytunnel - but there is no cold weather forecast so I might risk some seeds!

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  12. Wow you put us all to shame your an expert by far i love your polytunnel if i had one i would be in it all the time there something about a polytunnel in the summer there is that lovely green warm smell of growth and hope

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    1. I am not sure I would say I am an expert - I make plenty of mistakes and the weeds often take over in the summer (but when I do get on top of them the pigs are happy as they get to eat them) ... however I learn as I go and I am finding out what does work for me and what doesn't.

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  13. Oh wow, growing your own veggies must be so satisfying! And purple broccoli, where can I find this?!

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    1. Growing your own veg is great on so many levels - great taste, zero food miles, more choice and eating seasonally! According to their website Sainsbury's sell Purple Sprouting Broccoli and I would imagine others do to - or try a farmer's market for some that is probably even fresher and more local. Or even book a holiday here and buy some from us!!!

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