Monday 27 April 2009

This is the sound of the summer...

Rain, rain, more rain

Just after I took this picture the rain really started. Which matches the raining in my heart as today is the day Paul returns to the UK and I am home alone (with three kittens) for another two weeks - only slightly more complicated than usual as I will have no car for this time. I'm stocked up with food and booze, secured and wired for safety, ready and prepared to do my duty and finish the planting before he comes back with my car and I have some personal transport again. The first afternoon is always the worst, and the rain makes everything so dull and despairing.

Still, we had a great weather week before this with warm sun and dry soil that was a joy to work. Just as well as we were so far behind with everything any delay would have been a disaster.

We've rotovated the new bed and got all the spuds in, from right to left, 1 row of Epicure, 3 rows of Stroma, 3 rows of Ambo, 2 rows of Sarpo Mira, 2 rows of Vitelotte and 2 rows of Pink Fir Apple. That's more than enough potatoes for almost any family. I've also planted up three sorts of Oca, three sorts of Ulluco, another row of shallots and 175 onion sets in that bed.

The other beds have also had a spring clean. The rhubarb and the lovage are doing well after the winter but it looks like we've lost the Cardoon to the cold which is a pity. I'll keep the stump for a bit, just in case it sprouts from the roots. I've moved the Scuplit and the Babington leeks to a new semi-permanent bed and lifted and split the Good King Henry for a new row there too. I've also moved some horse radish into the patch as part of my clearance of another area. At the other end of this strip I've put in two types of Jerusalem artichoke, some of the reddish rounded tubers we've been growing for years and some long slender rooted ones that I found in Sainsbury's over the winter.

Our sad little asparagus crowns hadn't shown any signs of growth after a hurried replanting exercise last autumn and I was prepared to let them go but when Paul turned some up during the rotovating I was persuaded to give them one more try! They are now nestled down under the netted cage and marked by plug lettuces bought from the supermarket. If they've shown no growth by the time the lettuces are harvested then that's the end of them. In any event, I'll be starting afresh with some new seedlings this year and maybe we'll have our asparagus feast in 2013.


joker the lurcher said...

i hope the rain stops soon for you. we had it here too - it poured and poured and overflowed our newly plumbed in rainwater butt (i got the plumbing a bit wrong so i need to fix it). the tubers you sent me have sprouted and are getting going. do i earth them up like spuds?

Fuzzlewoof said...

I've not had much luck with asparagus either, think i've given up on it, it's cheaper and easiler to buy it! though i doubt the taste is in the same league.

Catofstripes said...

We need the rain but does there have to be so much of it!

Joker, it can't hurt to earth them up a bit, I think they keep rooting all along the stems as they spread. You can eat the leaves in moderation too. Remember they won't make tubers until late November though.

Fuzzlewoof, I wish I could buy asparagus here but the French are obsessed with the horrible white blanched stuff and don't seem to sell the sort of lovely green shoots we enjoy in the UK.