Wednesday, 24 April 2019

The garden is filling up rapidly

One minute you are anxiously peering at the soil to see if you can spot any germinating seeds, and the next your garden looks full already! There have been lots of changes in mine over the last few days.

The Purple Sprouting Broccoli is almost over now. Since I'm the only one in our household that likes this veg, I feel I'm sated with it now and I'm leaving the remaining secondary and tertiary spears to flower, so that the bees can enjoy them too.

A couple of days ago I planted out my "Ailsa Craig" onions - 30 of them in 3 rows of 10, alongside the Shallots.

The surface of that raised bed is covered with flowers from the nearby Bronze Maple tree, and in amongst the compost are loads of tiny seedlings which I think (hope) are Parsley.

Unfortunately, the seedlings could also be Leaf Celery, which grows near my compost bin and produces a prodigious amount of seeds, some of which may well have found their way into my home-made compost. I don't mind having lots of volunteer Parsley plants, but I only want a small amount of the very powerfully-flavoured Leaf Celery.

The over-wintered Endives are providing us with lots of salad at present, but I'm beginning to wish we could use them more rapidly, because I want to get on and plant more lettuces in the place where they are growing.

The biggest Lettuces I have at the moment are these, one each of 6 different varieties, given to me by a friend:

You'll notice that they are protected by anti-bird structures, because I reckon the local pigeons would find them very attractive. The structures are in fact shelves from my trusty mini-greenhouses, held together at the apexes with some twist-ties.

I also have a mixed tray of "Great Lakes" [Iceberg type] and "Marvel of Four Seasons" [Red-speckled Butterhead type] Lettuce seedlings, but they are currently very tiny. I'll be pricking-out the best of these in the next few days, and discarding the rest. My aim as always is to sow Lettuce successionally, every few weeks, so that I never have loads maturing at the same time.

There has been lots of action on the Chilli and Tomato front too. Some of the chilli plants are getting quite big (maybe 12 inches?), and I have moved them to larger pots. I think it is still too early to risk them outside at night-time, which (for space reasons) precludes putting them into their final 10-inch pots.

The Tomatoes, which were started a month later than the Chillis, are a lot smaller, but looking good and growing very rapidly, so they too will need moving to bigger pots very soon.

Talking of Tomatoes, let me tell you about these ones:

They have been grown from tiny seedlings that popped up in the shingle where I grew some plants last year. I think they may be "Maskotka" ones. I took pity on them and potted them up in October last year, since when they have been languishing on the windowsill of a spare bedroom. Due to very low light levels they went exceptionally leggy, but they survived. I have recently trimmed them back very severely and given them a good feed. I hope they will now put out some fresh sideshoots and go on to become viable plants. One of them has actually set a couple of fruit already!

Finally for today, I just want to show you my potted Mint plants. At the end of March I potted-up some clumps of root saved from last year's plants, and they have gone "whoosh"! The next 2 photos were taken just 3 weeks apart:

1st April

21st April
The Mint was sufficiently well advanced for me to snip some for serving with our "Charlotte" new potatoes (regrettably not home-grown) alongside roast Lamb on Easter Sunday.


  1. It's an exciting time when the seeds start to push through, We noticed out first open ground planted potato shoots today.

  2. endive is nice with pasta. you have to cook a lot down at once, saute it with lots of garlic. you can also use it in a pesto like sauce.

    1. sorry forgot to say the name of the dish the lettuce is escarole and I have had it with rigatoni a lot in Naples

    2. I tend to grow mostly the frizzy types of endive, not the broad-leaved escarole types - force of habit, I suppose - but then we don't generally eat endives cooked. I daresay the broad-leaved type is better for cooking since it's a bit more robust.

    3. we cook with all different lettuce we add it to soup and pasta. and BBQ little gem and raddichio


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