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Erecting bean poles


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April in the Kitchen Garden

After what feels like months of thumb twiddling and sitting on hands there suddenly don’t seem to be enough hours in the day – it’s all systems go in the kitchen garden.

April is one of my busiest months: the indoor sown seeds will need to be pricked out (tomatoes, celery, sweet peppers etc), more indoor sowings need to be done (the squash and cucumbers), out on the soil the beds are now ready for some direct sowings. The beds have been SAM_0857tickled over and given some compost and chicken manure then raked over to give as fine a medium as possible for tiny seeds to sit in. I will start to successionally sow the legume bed with various climbing beans and peas starting about mid-April as the soil warms up then every two weeks or so until mid-June.

One of the biggest differences in the garden now will be the temporary structures that need to go up to support the climbing veggies…….the garden will become a forest of bean poles, looking a little forlorn until the plants get going. I love it when the structures go up……they tantalise me with the promise of things to come.

The shed is gradually emptying of all the pots, trays and assorted bits and bobs stored over winter…….so it’s a great time to have a bit of a tidy and clean up……and maybe even get a couple of top coats of paint on.

And, of course, we’re into grass cutting season and weeding time – the speed with which the grass and weeds grow never fails to amaze me. There really aren’t enough hours in the day!

Happy April gardening everyone.

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Taking stock…..and taking stock

If I had known, last year, what I know now would I have done things differently? Possibly. Probably not. A few tweaks here and there but nothing major. This time last year I was just grateful to be in the garden at all…..with my little broken wings……I had no idea I was on a course for making a huge decision. The fact that I wouldn’t do things differently gives me confidence; over the last couple of years my little patch of soil has shown me it can feed me and nurture me and keep me whole.

This time of year is known as the ‘hungry gap’: the time when last year’s harvests have been eaten and this year’s are yet to grow. I have, by trial and error, over a few years, learned how to keep myself going over winter……with the stored produce and the veggies I can keep going in the ground during the cold months. It is about thiBroad beanss time of year when I go through the cupboards, the freezer, the shed to work out what’s left and what I can make from it……

So……it is this time of year, once more, when I take stock of what’s left, what goodies there are to be turned into meals:……..but I find, as I weigh the beans and count the onions and clock the bottles of toms and eyeball the squash…..that I am quietly crying…….I stop in my tracks. I’m actually really crying and I can’t turn off the tears, the little sobs catch in my throat. ……I realise, I am taking stock not of my veggies….but of my life. I slump on the kitchen chair, nursing my tears and slowly I begin to see it…….. I have been in a ‘hungry gap’ for years…….my belly has been full, but my soul has been depleted…to the point of starvation. I am empty, totally drained….and empty.

I no longer know who I am. The little moments in the kitchen garden have kept a tiny heartbeat going…..but I don’t want a tiny heartbeat…..I want a thump, thump, thumping beat. So I have decided to follow my heart….with it’s quiet little beat. I have decided to feed my soul. I have decided to look after myself for a while. I have decided to let the kitchen garden look after me this year……and walk away from the job I love but which doesn’t love me back.

I don’t know what I will do or what will happen next……but I know whatever it is that I will give it my all and I will find myself again. I know that I will be living true to myself. I know that the sun on my cheeks, the air in my hair, the buzz of insects, the beautiful flashes of colour in the garden…..the company, the tea, the thrill of the harvest, the smell of damp soil, the solitude, the birds that sing to me…….the simplicity of simply being…..will feed my soul and restore me.

The garden has it’s seasons……this is the season of newness, of life, of growth. We all feel it. After many springs my spring has finally come and I will grow once more………I hope your spring is happening for you too and that you find a way to fill your ‘hungry gap’.