Wednesday, 6 July 2011
Around and about
First flower on the ridge cucumbers
Another post about everything and nothing. I'm very aware that the blog this year is both more frequent and detailed and yet contains less than ever in the way of useful information.
I started with the intention of documenting the journey of our life in France and this year at least I've been trying hard to report on the progress of the garden here for Paul who is sometimes allowed to connect to the interwebs from his cell back at the salt mines, but that doesn't always make interesting reading for everyone. So I apologise for the minutiae of my daily life and promise I will try to bring more informative posts back when there's a suitable subject to hand.
The red kale and purple sprouting patch
I am quite pleased with myself for raising our brassicas from seed this year. Normally I buy plug plants because previous attempts at seed raising have failed horribly. This year I followed all the guidelines for best practice and guess what, it worked!
There is a price to pay though. This bed, which contains 16 each of purple sprouting and red kale has used only about one quarter of the 60cm seed rows for each variety, leaving about 50 baby plants of each sort with no home to go to. It's not that I don't have the space (although cultivated land is in shorter supply) but we'd never eat that many vegetables even if I grew them on. But it does make me sad to waste them. Next year, shorter seed rows, this year I'll pop a few more in the back garden between the fruit bushes as insurance against deer attack on the main bed and harden my heart when I compost the rest. It's at moments like this I wish I was on a allotment because somebody would be pleased to take them off my hands and my guilt would be assuaged.
The plants look rather limp because I'd just transplanted them and the soil is so very dry, but they've been watered well and in theory at least we are promised showers today and tomorrow which should help mitigate the shock of being moved.
Just by the babies you can see this year's crop of Asturian tree cabbage, also grown from seed in the spring. Very useful plant and the few I left in the back garden from last year are also doing pretty well.
These are the bulbils from the elephant garlic I lifted last week. They are a useful means of propagation and should produce solid round bulbs next summer, but I've not been particularly successful with raising them so far. This could be because last year I was rather cavalier, tossed them into the top of a pot where something else had died and forgot about them. A few did come up but it was a tiny percentage.
Hoping to do better this year I looked on the webbyverse and found this useful article. It's a counsel of perfection but the advice about the hard skin seems very pertinent, I think it was my trouble last year so I've potted them up immediately and snapped the top of each bulbil with my thumbnail just enough to reveal the flesh inside. They've been well watered and my fingers are crossed. If they all come up I'll have 60 more plants to add to the projected 40 for next year.
The French beans Annabel, planted directly in the ground on the 19th April, now have beans ready for harvest. Call it 11 weeks, not too bad especially since they all but stopped growing for a couple of weeks in the dry. The Ice Crystal Wax planted at the same time are generally larger and sturdier plants but are only just beginning to form beans. No matter as I wouldn't be able to eat them all if they all came at once anyway.