Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A sweet spring in the step

Early spring is always a busy time. It’s too early for serious failure – even losing the greenhouse is now a hiccup more than a seizure. Enthusiasm is still high for the coming year with the excitement of planning and preparation. Seed sowing is busy, but manageable – there is space in the greenhouse (and windowsill) for everything we need. Nothing is growing so madly that we have to cut, weed or tend too much. We can enjoy the heralds of spring, such as the first flowers, frog-spawn, bud-burst or bird-song. Life is good.

First Rhubarb Crop
(sweetened by March sunshine)
This good life is always improved by the year’s first harvest which, as usual, is Rhubarb. This year the Timperley Early provides our first taste of 2015 (baked in a beautifully-simple and beautifully-tasty tart).


The plot ready
(With the new beds ready for digging)
Of course, all this tranquillity rapidly comes crashing down around the time of this first harvest, as this is a sure sign that actually things actually are growing. April is nearly upon us, the greenhouse and windowsill are worryingly full, and we need to start getting moving. Good weather through March has allowed us to get our “core” plot ready – four 4’x12’ deep beds, as well as our permanent beds (two for Rhubarb and two for Asparagus) and soft fruit (Rasps and various other berry bushes). In the deep beds, the autumn-sown Garlic and Onion sets are doing well, and the Broad Beans and Peas are just about managing. We’re hoping to double our production area over the next two years, adding two more deep beds as well as fruit bushes and perennial crops (Globe Artichoke please) this year alone. We’ve sown some salads, some more Onion seeds, and a few brassicas, Tomatoes (which are due to perish within the next week going by our normal timetable), Aubergines and Peppers for some colour.

However, we need to get our late crops of Broad Beans and Peas in, more salads, herbs, flowers (those pollinators need something to keep them here) as well as all the other stuff we’ve planned. The already-chitted Potatoes need planted and the Shallot sets need to be ordered. We need to get pricking out (of the greenhouse) so we can get more sowings in. So much to do, so little time.

The Windowsill
(getting more crowded by the day...)


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