Thursday 8 May 2008

Gardening Update

merveille des 4 saisons

We've had marvellous weather for a couple of days, so good that I'm having to get up at dawn to do anything that involves heavy work or protective clothing. It's just too hot to do these things later in the day. A real jump straight into summer from chill spring.

The lettuces above, Merveille des 4 Saisons, are from plug plants bought from the Point Vert in Le Molay Littry at the beginning of April. They've come on well and I will be able to take some soon to make room for the others to mature. To replace them I have a couple of pots of seedlings started here that I must prick out and harden off before finding them a place in the plot.

Behind the lettuces you might just be able to see two rows of garlic. The tall strong garlic was planted last December and the shorter stuff just 4 weeks ago. It's clear that December planting is going to make the best plants and we'll have to try harder next year to get all the garlic planted before January.

sweet cicely

I've been clearing the bed around the Sweet Cicely, some of the heavy work referred to above. It's hard work because a year of neglect has filled it with buttercups and other noxious weeds not to mention two huge patches of mint, battling it out for space. I've rescued some of the plants and the rest will go for compost. Mint is great stuff but almost too vigorous.

I love Sweet Cicely and have brought this plant via Newport Pagnell all the way from Worthing where I had a wonderful plant that regularly set seed. I've never managed to get viable seed from any plant since although I've propagated it from root divisions of the original. I'm hoping that with a year or two to mature the plant might finally settle down to seeds. I'd like to increase my stocks and plant some around the farm as well as in the herb bed.

crimson flowered broad bean

In the heritage vegetable bed the Crimson Flowered Broad bean has just started to flower. I'm not a great seed guardian, my efforts lurch from year to year with my new best favourites until suddenly realise it's almost too late to for some treasure to be viable whereupon I spring into action on behalf of the about to be lost. The seed for these must have been three years old and very poorly stored so I'm pleased that they seem to be such healthy happy little plants now. Even so, I noticed while taking the pictures that ants were making surveys of the growing tips, presumably with an eye for aphid farming. I'll have to stay watchful over that.

two types of ulluco

The Ulluco, this year's novelty, is showing above ground finally. The Oca isn't, which is a little worrying but anyway, back to the Ulluco. When I looked at the tubers there seemed to be three types but looking at the foilage the differences seem much less marked. However, there are definitely two types. The one I have most of is the lanker less colourful of the two but there are also a couple with beautiful magenta new growth as you can see in the picture. These potted plants are the tiniest tubers which I didn't want to lose in open ground before they started to grow. The eight larger plants went straight into the ground and seem to like it there. I'll put the potted ones out as soon as I find room for them, space is beginning to run short.

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