Surely there is no lovelier place to be than in the garden on a sunny spring morning. After such a long, and at times harsh, winter it feels even more of a privilege and blessing than ever. More time in the garden means less time to keep up with this but here is a run down on what has been going on recently.
- I just had a massive and lovely surprise when I spotted the asparagus coming through!
- Various members of the onion family that have over wintered are going strong including Welsh onions, wild garlic, chives, giant chives, leeks (normal leeks in years two and three of life), tree onions and garlic. The Welsh onion, wild garlic, leeks and chives are all large enough to pick small quantities.
- The kales, cabbage (normal cabbage in year three of life), sorrels and spinach are growing and have also provided some modest harvests.
- Lamb’s lettuce and wild rocket are providing some salad leaves.
I have been sowing lots of seeds, concentrating on growing more of the plants that have been working to bulk them up and maximise the amount of food I am able to crop; and continuing to trial new plants and seeds – as many as I can get hold of! Last year I had some success with a good range of perennials but there were some seeds that either stubbornly refused to germinate or the young plants unfortunately died in their infancy. I am no expert in raising plants from seed, all is very much trial and error though I do my best to abide by advice that I glean from books and the web. Our garden is quite shady and I have taken to moving things around to keep them in the sun at different times of day. I think that perhaps some were just too cold and damp last year.
Perennial vegetable seeds sown to date include Welsh onion, nine star perennial broccoli, wild rocket, scorzonera, conopodium majus, skirret, chufa, perennial lettuce, crambe cordifolia. I find it best to start them off in pots and plant out in late spring or early summer when they are of sufficient size to withstand the onslaught of the resident slug population.
I have been using up seeds from some packs that say they are out of date, but as I cannot bear waste I have sown them anyway. If they don’t come up I can always get some more. In principle I much prefer to use as simple methods as possible but for some of the seeds that I had no success with at all last year I have also tried a new method just found on the internet at http://iwetmyplants.com/2009/02/13/pre-sprouting-2009/ for “pre-sprouting” seeds. Watch this space to see if it works or not!