Sow it – Grow It – Cook It – Eat It
Welcome to the crazy month. It’s just about the busiest month in the kitchen garden…..and we’re having to contend with weather too. We should be seeing the last of our frosts within the next few days…..but we’re not out of the woods yet. I spend my days ping-ponging backwards and forwards to the garden to throw fleece over my seedlings then remove it the next day. It’s a bit of a faff……but worth it to save the plants that are going to feed me for the next year.
If you got your spuds in during March they should be well and truly up by now……and it’s time to ‘earth’ them – earthing them protects them from late frosts but, just as importantly, helps produce a bigger yield by giving the plant new ‘space’ to produce in. When I earth the spuds it also gives me a chance to see how much moisture is in the soil. We haven’t had rain for weeks but, going down a couple of inches (to fetch the soil up and over the spud growth) shows me there is plenty of moisture down there. I won’t water any of the established plants…….I want to encourage their roots down to find the water…….but I will water freshly sown seed beds…..a seed with no root can’t find water!
So I’m watering because we’ve had no rain…….and protecting plants from frosts….welcome to our weather. Meanwhile it’s all GO with seed sowing, pricking, transplanting, potting on. By now the indoor/under glass sown seeds will be ready to prick out or pot on…….and, finally, the first of the direct sowings can start: parsnips, carrots, beans, peas, squash, corn, fennel, salad leaves……and on and on! Told you it was the crazy month!
…….and not forgetting the crops already in the ground: by now, if you have any brassicas left they will probably have blown…….producing clouds of little yellow flowers……if you aren’t in a hurry for the space please leave them in as they provide essential food for the bees making their first forays of the year when, apart from fruit blossom, there is little else around for them to feast on. If you sowed your broad beans last autumn they should be about to burst with pods……….and black fly!!!! Grrrrr……..I do loathe black fly. Either pinch out the tips that the flies love to feast on or spray with a mix of water and soap to drown ’em……..or squish between your fingers………a daily inspection/squish session at this time of year will save a few tears in June……
….it is also the time of year (especially after rains) when the little weeds suddenly look like monsters. There are no short cuts……..perennials need to be dug out…….annuals can be dealt with by regular hoeing (a wonderfully meditative job)……try to hoe at least once a week, even before you see the weeds……a quick tickle once a week should suffice….
…..and, finally, this is the time of year that I start to empty the freezer of last year’s produce: I take stock of what I have left and plan my meals accordingly with the aim of emptying the freezer by the end of June so that it can have it’s annual defrost and deep clean…….before the new harvest starts to come in.
Busy, busy, busy!!! Wouldn’t have it any other way. Happy sowing, hoeing and freezer emptying!