Note the semi-colon in the title: it was a bit “eats, shoots and leaves” when I had previously used a comma. Why are you developing woodlice, Mrs SVG asked. She was right, but instead of starting from scratch I decided to patch up a perfectly serviceable sentence with a sticky plaster form of punctuation. I beg your forbearance, as I continue to mangle the English language.
I am a better gardener than I was when I started. That is practically a given, very few people are worse at something years after they started. But I am still making daft mistakes and I still haven’t developed the sensitivity to the soil and my plants that would let me understand the setbacks that take place in my back yard. For example, what conditions would give my plants browned leaf edges and tips? Is it too cold at night or is too hot? Or is it both, or hot sun with a cold wind? It turns out I still haven’t developed the skills and sensitivity to work out what is going on. It is made worse in that my gardening was flourishing in March and April, but for some reason everything has come crashing to a halt in late May. Read More
We’ve all been waiting for it, a long period of hot sun, cold wind, cold nights and no rain, have led to windburned plants dawdling along, not doing very much. The three days of solid rain – some would say this was ‘back to normal’ – has had its usual magical effect in the back garden. Things have spurted upwards, as if the rain has some sort of fast acting fertiliser in it.
I ate my first pea mangetout. The pea wasn’t meant to be a mangetout but I ate it that way, anyway. As you can see from one of the photos above I have had my first purple pea flower appear. This variety is ‘Golden Sweet’ – a proper mangetout – but unlike other purple flowered peas, this one tastes nice. I have been busy scoffing everything, everyday. The coriander is busy bolting, I am eating the softer shoots, but I am keen to get them out of the way so I can put in my summer veg: squashes, french beans, tomatoes, etc. The vietnamese coriander and Sweet Cicely, that I bought as baby plants, have settled in nicely and are now growing away. I don’t mind buying plants if they last more than one year; with the vietnamese coriander, that means digging it up and bringing it in the house over winter; and with the sweet cicely nothing at all is required, because it is a native hardy perennial.
The sea beet was busy bolting and I have cut it close to the ground, hoping it will re-engage its vegetative growing mode and produce big leaves and stalks. This is a very tasty plant. I have cleared the mizuna and red mustard, but myself and Mrs SVG are both sick to death of the stuff and are glad to see the back of them. They are very hardy though, grow and are pickable during the winter and are welcome salads during that time. But no longer, it’s time for tastier, more tender veg!
The allotment is seeing its first Marestail and bindweed attacks. One end, the easier to cultivate end, has very little of it, but the other end is infested. It is cultivation that has knocked back the perennial weeds on the easy end of the plot, so I will be attacking the bad end with gusto (and a spade). The plastic on the paths is working so far, so fingers crossed.
It was flipping freezing this morning, so much so I wore a coat. By Midday it was boiling again, which sort of illustrates the deceptiveness of the British climate: when the sun shines, it’s lovely, when it doesn’t there is an underlying chill to the breeze. Read More