You remember that I have been making some plans for upgrading my cucumber-growing arrangements? Well, I have made one more step towards this. I'm planning to acquire a big deep container in which to grow the cucumbers (current thinking is that this might be a domestic dustbin, perhaps with a few "alterations"). I'm assuming that without spending a lot of money on buying an ornamental planter (probably costing upwards of £50), the container is likely to be a bit unsightly. I have therefore re-planted a trio of fern plants that previously lived around the base of the old wooden compost bin in a row in front of where the cucumber receptacle is going to go. Hopefully they will put up some nice big fronds and make the area look a bit more attractive. We shall see...
Another task has been the lifting of my final batch of parsnips. I wanted to free-up the bed in which they have been growing, so that I can dig in some home-made compost. This bed will be playing host to my salad crops this year. The parsnips were (as before) a bit of a mixed bag. Some of them were a good size, but there ware also a few tiny ones too. This batch weighed-in at 1.4kg, so it will be enough for two servings for each of the two of us.
|They are no great beauties, but they scrub up well!|
Last year I had for the first time ever some "issues" with getting parsnip seeds to germinate, and I re-sowed twice (with a different variety for the third sowing), so I don't really know which were the good ones and which were the poor ones. Nevertheless we have eaten parsnips a lot these past few months! Looking back through my photos (which conveniently record dates for us these days) I see that the first ones were harvested in September, and here we are four months later with more lovely sweet roots to enjoy. Definitely good VSR (Value for Space Rating).
I had another, impatient, peek under the fleece and netting protecting my red chicories...
They are growing incredibly slowly! In other years I'm sure they would have been ready to use well before this. Notice by the way the little stone placed over the end of one of the leaves to hold it in place - a photographer's ploy enabling me to get a better view of the lovely delicate pink inner leaves shielded by the coarser greener outer leaves.
All my recent fretting about getting some mint to come on quickly by bringing it indoors was completely unnecessary: the plants I have kept in the cold-frame are putting up strong new growth already - and it's not leggy either!
These plants are going to need re-potting soon. Each Spring I re-pot my mint, saving a few of the best bits of root-and-shoot, and discarding the rest. During the year the plants grow enormously and their roots soon fill the pots and use up all the nutrients. They would not do well if I left them in the same compost (or lack of it) for a second year. I'm sure that most people will do as I do and grow mint in containers, because if you grow it in open ground it can soon take over, and spread to places where you don't want it to go.
The chives are also just beginning to grow again. I don't generally re-pot these every year, and I did last year so I probably won't this time. The pots have gone very mossy, so maybe I will... I don't know.
The final task I did over the weekend was applying some pelleted chicken manure to the soil around the base of my broccoli, to give it a bit of a boost since harvesting time is getting quite close. Even I didn't think this was very photogenic though, so you get away without having to see pictures of it!
So there we go - some dirt under the fingernails again. My gardening enthusiasm is re-invigorated!
[By the way, were the **** are all those seeds I ordered over the Christmas holiday? I haven't received ANY of them yet.]