Return of the gardeners

It’s always with a degree of trepidation that I return to our garden after being away. While three weeks absence isn’t much, it did coincide with the first big flush of spring so the weeds are rampant and the vegetables are hard to find.

On a more positive note our two new chickens have started laying, so the daily egg count is growing nicely. A friend was looking after our tomato seedlings and they have flourished under their care.

I braved the front veggie patch this afternoon. Brave being the operative word. After half an hour of weeding I had scarcely managed to clear a metre of ground. What was more disappointing was that after that work it turned out that the purple podded peas were so spent that it actually wasn’t worth the effort to free them from the weeds.

Thankfully the shallots that I planted at either end of the bed are growing away reasonably well. I have now mulched them with sugar cane waste to see it I can slow down the ever ready weed population.

A further word on these beds that I planted out so hopefully a few months ago. You might remember that I tried out Tino Carnavale’s method of placing the seedlings near strings so the plants could readily climb to the top of their support. Sadly I have to report that for one of my beds this was almost a complete failure. Not Tino’s fault but my first qualification is don’t try this method where the plants will be effected by strong wind.

My purple Podded peas were growing away quite nicely when our spring gale force winds hit. The plants were clinging so tightly that almost all of one bed were immediately snapped off at the base. A second row of peas, planted in the shelter of the first row managed to survive somewhat better and they are starting to produce quite well. The bush peas planted nearby have just about disappeared under the weeds. However my Alderman climbing peas and my snow peas, planted in the more sheltered back garden, are podding quite well.

Probably best of all is that we are still harvesting some asparagus. Just enough to remind us what we missed out on during our holiday.

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Eat your shallots and grow them too

Its the time of year when you can be planting members of the onion family. We currently have Welsh bunching onions and and brown onions and red Italian onions Longa di Firenze on the go. TB has also planted some shallots, the ones like small onions with papery brown skins, also called French Shallots or eschallots (don’t confuse these with the thin green leek-like plants). While you can get the offsets from seed suppliers you can also grow them from the bulbs at the supermarket. Yep those little dry shallot bulbs will actually shoot if you plant them out now. TB planted these 3 weeks ago.

Shallots

I’m also pleased to see that the broad bean and purple-podded pea seeds are going well. TB has also planted snow peas which are also off and running.

BroadbeansjunPppeasjune

I planted some more purple-podded pea seeds last weekend to give me a sucession of plants. I love these peas for eating and their two tone purple flowers and purple pods make them a showy plant for the garden. I never seem to have enough of them to eat. I will plant some more in the next few weeks to keep the harvest extending over the longest possible time.