This time of year is when gardening is just so much fun. Seeds have been planted and now the seedlings have come through and I can do what Claire calls my “Marjory” bit – sitting in the greenhouse potting up or just generally pottering. There is still plenty of weeding, digging and hoe-ing to do, but the seedlings need tending to in the greenhouse and one can lose many a contemplative hour in there.
The weather has been good so the weeds have kept down in the garden. I have managed to plant out the broad beans and the mangetout (thanks to Duncan for pointing out to me that the plants I labelled as runners in a previous post were – actually – broad beans. Knows his beans, does farmer Palmer). Well, whatever name I give ’em they still seem to do OK.
The potatoes came up fast and have flourished before I could even think of earthing them up again. I had a conversation with Jim yesterday who, like me, compulsively earths up his spuds as soon as they poke through, whether or not frost is likely. But, as we both noted, they don’t do anything like that when planted commercially, although commercial planting does seem to be a week or two later than we do in the garden. The field down the road has been planted with potatoes and what a fabulous sight that is. When I was young and wanted to build my own toy farm I dreamt of getting hold of enough corrugated cardboard to make nicely ploughed fields. There are a hell of a lot of corrugations in the potato field down the road.
So the planting and potting up stage is in fully swing – probably nearing its end. And so the transition to the planting out. Two years ago I would be checking the internet to know exactly how far apart plants and rows needed to be and precisely how much fertilizer of compost need to be in the soil. I did all that for the spuds this year.reminding myself how far apart earlies and mains needed to be.
Then probably go it wrong.
But for the rest I just do a best guess. With regard to the purple sprouting and the red kale I’m glad I did not bother too much with measuring, as every plant has been eaten. By what, I don’t know. I put netting over them, but to no avail. Mice? Slugs? At least I kept the left overs in the greenhouse so I went back to my potting up…
And so to the next phase: getting the plants to maturity. Or the War on Pests, which, like the War on Drugs, we’re never likely to win. It’s all a matter of accommodating everyone to an extent.