Thursday, 27 February 2014

Getting Ahead

Posted by Rosie

This time last year I had hardly stepped foot in the veg garden for weeks.  We had had snow and more snow and hard frosts in between.  This winter has of course been very different and for once, despite the wet, I am really rather well ahead (shock).

Most of the veg beds are manured and covered - I am a "do as little digging as possible" type of gardener and this way I simply need to uncover the patch where I want to sow, remove the odd persistent weed, rake over the surface and I'm ready to go. Easy!  And if we do, by chance, get a long dry spell the fabric helps keep the soil damp.

I have sown parsnips and broad beans outside.  We have had a few gorgeous days this week - warm enough on Monday to eat lunch in the garden, temperatures above 30ºC in the polytunnel and wind to dry out the soil enough to make it workable.  The French think I am completely daft sowing things outside in February, but then they rarely grow parsnips or broad beans.  I have also sown loads in the polytunnel - oriental greens, carrots, rocket, beetroot, chard, spring onions, lettuces, cabbages and turnips.  OK - I know I run the risk of bad weather still to come but anyone who knows me knows that I like to try things early and
Harvest Home
late .... and certainly nothing will grow if the seeds stay in the packets. Last year I had a poor broad bean crop as they went in so late.  This year I am hoping for better!  Late last year, far later than the packets advised, I sowed Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Turnips and look what I am harvesting this week.  The hens are also well and truly back in lay - thank you Girls.

Tidy Tayberries
In the fruit patch, I have pruned back all my fruit bushes and tied in the rambling fruits - I still have all the prunings to remove (I hate doing that!) and a blackberry to replant that has self seeded in a daft place but it's all otherwise looking very neat.  Simon bought me some new fruit bushes back from the UK - 4 blackcurrants, a redcurrant and some yellow raspberries and they have all gone in.  Unlike the broad beans I had a FABULOUS fruit crop last year - the best ever and I am hoping for a repeat performance this year!

Simon also bought me a few "oddities" back:
* some mushroom spawn - we tried a box before and it did well initially - that is until the cat thought it would make a convenient litter tray.  (Note to self - keep Henry away from mushrooms).
* a small citrus tree - it's a clementine cross and supposed to give edible fruit.  It is hardy down to 5ºC so can spend the summer in the garden, spring and autumn in the polytunnel and winter in the house (I hope it doesn't get too big!)
* a ginger root - I have had root ginger sprout in the fridge and apparently you can get it to grow .... if it is hot and humid enough.  We shall have to see.

A good week in the garden then.  I'll end with a plea to the weather Gods - previously you have sent us deep snow in March, biting winds in April and frost in May. Could you kindly this year send us none of these as we gardeners would prefer no snow and, to quote a well know poem, "April showers to bring forth May flowers".  Not much of an ask surely?

Linking up with Mammasuarus and other gardeners in How Does Your Garden Grow - I'm off to read what everyone else has been up to this week.

Mammasaurus and How Does Your Garden Grow?

24 comments :

  1. It sounds like you've been really busy with all your planting. All I hear at the moment is to plant broad beans, I suppose I better get to it. Do parsnips take up much space? I hadn't thought to plant any.

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    1. parsnips don't need to take up much space but remember they are in the ground for a very long time - Feb-Apr sowing and Oct-March harvesting. Nothing nicer than a freshly dug parsnip though!

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  2. wow busy! great to find you via hdygg x

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  3. I love broad beans and would like to grow them in my back garden but I'm worried it's too shady. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you that the weather behaves over the next couple of months :) I'd love to have that much fruit growing in my garden, yum!

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    1. Broad beans are OK is semi-shade if you have any and there is the small variety The Sutton which is good for limited space. Give them a go if you - they are so much nicer freshly picked and eaten.

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  4. you have planned well and done so much work and soon you will have so many fruits of labor. can't wait to see!

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    1. Hopefully I will - after several years of the polytunnel I finally feel I am now making good all year round use of it. Mind you I doubt you need a polytunnel in Florida do you?

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  5. You sound like you've been so very busy - I'm not an overwhelming broad bean fan having been made to eat the ones as a child that were too big (and tough) to be frozen but I suspect ones grown in the French climate may well be a lot nicer

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    1. Old and usually big broad beans have, for far too long given broad beans a bad name. Pick them young, before the bit that connects the bean to the pod goes black and you will taste something completely different and delicious.

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  6. You're doing so well, it's brilliant. I'd love to grow ginger, I'll have to give it a try, we use tons of the stuff.

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    1. Apparently it's very hard but I'm always up for a challenge! I reckon you'd do just as well with a sprouted shop bought one than a root bought in the garden centre as well.

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  7. Gosh, I really do need to get a wriggle on and start getting some veg seeded or I'll end up having to buy plants to go in the ground! Mich x

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    1. I wouldn't panic at all just yet Michelle - I have sown parsnips in May and got a pretty good crop and I am sure my late sown broad beans would have done better last year had they not tried to develop pods in the heat wave we had in July - I reckon in any normal July they'd have been just fine.

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  8. The purple sprouting broccoli looks so good - and difficult to grow no?

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    1. My Purple Sprouting Broccoli did well in the UK outside over winter but here the garden is more exposed and it has never flourished. This is the first time I have tried it in the polytunnel and it was as easy as anything and is cropping loads.

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  9. I am growing broad beans for the first time. I sowed them directly into the ground back in the autumn and covered them with fleece over winter (we live near the sea so are not really prone to frost) - they are now sturdy plants. Looking forward to harvesting them!
    Annie @SuffolkPebbles

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    1. Sounds good - we are too exposed here to have much luck with Autumn sown beans outdoors but the ones I put in the polytunnel in the Autumn are already in flower.

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  10. Sounds busy busy busy there and oh so productive. I love the idea of growing clementines and ginger too - for some reason I've always imagines ginger ot be really tricky to grow.
    You make me want to grow my own! Thanks ever so much for joining in again x

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    1. I have read that ginger is hard but then I am always up for a gardening challenge. I grew sweet potatoes in the polytunnel last year and worked out I got about as many sweet potatoes as I could have bought for the same price as the seedlings I bought. BUT - they were my sweet potatoes and that made them priceless!

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  11. So many plans, and great to be ahead. Looking forward to seeing the fruits of your labour

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    1. Thank you - do please keep popping back to the blog and I will do my best to keep gardening updates coming.

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  12. Now feel inspired to get my non-green fingers out and give it a go. I did manage to grow peas, coriander and green beans with the children last year. Perhaps I need to be more adventurous this year and get to it!

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    1. Glad I could be of inspiration! Good luck and let me know how you get on.

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