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Thursday, 5 April 2012

In the veg patch

It's certainly easier to blog in the winter than to find the time during the growing season! Not much to write about just yet regarding what little I have already planted or sown. I keep feeling that I am way behind but that's because we have had some fine sunny weather recently. Many years I don't even start until April because the soil is cold and soggy.

However we are enjoying eating the last of last year's vegetables. We've had our first meal of PSB (Purple Sprouting Broccoli) but it's odd because at least four of my plants aren't yet showing any signs of florets forming, which is doubly surprising given the recent warmth as I thought they'd have gone to seed in no time at all. 

First florets forming on the PSB

Hopefully these plants will come to life soon! We've been eating lots of purple curly kale as it has put on much fresh new growth including flowering tips, but unfortunately these are covered in aphids so I'm not bothering with those bits. And where are the ladybirds now? Eh?

Purple curly kale. I love purple veg!

The leeks are now all harvested and the last ones in the fridge as I needed to get the early spuds in. Here's a cheating photo from last year when the PSB was earlier so the two veg coincided.

There are plenty of self seeded edibles in the veg patch already but most of these will have to be hoed off but I was pleased to see some sunflowers self seeded from last year's two plants. I'll be moving them to a different more out of the way position as they certainly brightened up the place and various birds enjoyed eating the seeds.

My edible 'weeds' - borage, dill and magenta orach.

As usual my coriander 'lawn' is emerging everywhere! I rarely need to sow any and still have a few clumps that survived winter which are near to flowering now, and so the the cycle will start all over again.

Oh and I do have some peas just about worthy of a photo..... and my strawberries have started to flower. All we need now is some rain! But that is another subject.... the dreaded D word. :-(

The weather has changed although not to the extent of the snow I was hearing about on British radio but I do need some better blue sky to take photos of the blossom on my plum trees! In the photo are greengage, which is the big tree, unknown purple plum in the foreground and spindly, barely noticeable damson in the background. My big disappointment is that my newish, planted 2 years ago plum trees in the orchard across the road, where the soil has clay in it and is much moister, have hardly any flowers. Last year I got a handful of Quetches and not a single Reine Claude Violette despite them being covered in blossom; this year, no chance. But such are the joys, and sorrows, of gardening!



  1. You are further forward than me here in Normandy. Have you had frost the last few nights?

  2. I have put loads of stuff into the garden but yours seems a lot further forward than ours, plus we are getting hard frosts nearly every morning!

  3. I thought I was behind veggie wise because on various forums everyone seems to have been sowing and planting in a frenzy - though I tend to wait a bit longer than some, and certainly for the tender things. We haven't had frost the last 2 nights, but did for about 5 nights before that. Think Monday or Tuesday morning it was about 0C!

    In terms of blossom and stuff - we are well behind Rennes - when we drive (southwards) towards the city we see leaves starting to emerge on oak trees already and in the city centre there are tons of leaves on all the trees! I think they are a good 2 weeks ahead of here, which I always call frosty hollow as we seem to be behind everywhere else!

  4. My three favourite veggies - psb, kale and leek. And also what I'm hoping to grow in containers this year.

    You don't expect to be wishing for rain at this time of year normally, hope it rains for you soon!

  5. I think I started too early (not that I have any idea). I have really big courgette plants and sweetcorn that I won't be able to plant out for another month and a half probably... not entirely sure what to do about them. Peas and carrots planted weeks ago are finally crawling out of the ground... Your PSB and leek pic is lovely. I have leeks too. They are about half an inch tall at the moment...

  6. I love your purple kale! I have some that came back from last year; right now, it's the only thing growing in my vegetable garden. Although it's been an unusually warm March, I haven't planted anything yet in the veggie garden. I'm hoping to get started this next week; I agree it's been a busy spring!

  7. Sara - I'd add mange tout to that list! And yes, it is getting rather dry here, not a problem for the veg patch yet as not much in it, but the poor flower beds would appreciate some, and I have spread fertiliser around which isn't going to do anything without being watered in....

    CC - It may be worth sowing more courgette seeds as a back up - I've made the mistake of sowing seeds too early one year (inside the house) and had cucumbers and pumpkins crawling over the carpet - suffice to say, they did not do well when planted out and the plants from later sown seeds were much healthier. Sometimes it is hard to judge when is best (especially when you have the advantage of a greenhouse! I don't!) but generally I sow seeds like courgette, cucumber and squash at the beginning of May, into pots, in my cold frames. They are then usually ready to plant out early June and it seems to work for me. Unless of course they don't germinate, then I get all panicky because I'm behind! :-)

    Rose - lovely to see you here! I didn't know you grew veg as well as all your beautiful flowers, I must nosey around your blog some more!

  8. We had broad beans in over the winter- it works some years but not this here (Lancaster) - largely because the pigeons ate them. March was incredibly warm here but early April cold with hill snow- though none with us at 30m.Our purple sprouting is rather minimalist though. What has done well this mild winter is been the oriental Spicy Greens - still picking along with spinach beet.

  9. Thanks Will, and Mary that's interesting that you have oriental spicy greens that survived winter. Some more of my PSB is showing signs of life but it is slow!

  10. Hi again! I have been enjoying your site and I nominated you for the Sunshine Award. Seems like a fun award to me and I hope you find it interesting:

    1. Hi Miss Lady Bug! Thank you very much, I am really honoured!! :-)