So we are into May and the risk of frosts starts to recede. The greenhouse has filled up with trays of germinating seedlings with virtually every spare level surface covered. We’ve rigged up the usual cold frame outside and spent the latter part of April hardening them off. Nothing has suffered so far – apart from the potatoes which looked a bit browned off (I was worried that blight might have struck already – but they look fine now and Monty reckoned his Belle de Fontenay had had a bit of frost damage, so I reckon that was what it was).
The various beans (french and runners) looked a little crinkly too at one point but they too seem to be OK. Not sure if that was frost or lack of water. We’ll plant them out next weekend.
So we have now planted out Broad Beans, peas, sugar snaps, mange tout, sweet peas, Kholrabi, Black Kale, Curly Kale and summer PSB. When I say “we” I am no longer talking about me and my canine companions (one of whom spends much of the time dropping tennis balls on the seedlings and getting tied up in netting and string) but more my increasingly serious gardening partnership with Mrs B. She has signalled an intention to spend more time on the horticultural side of things now that she has elected to no longer be a partner within the John Lewis Group. Which has greatly improved our productivity, although I have to get used to the idea of gardening as a team sport rather than an individual one. I might have to be organised now, as Mrs B will inevitably want a list of jobs, or worse still will start telling me what needs doing – which I already know and have already re-prioritised. Or maybe I have not.
I do not necessarily plan ahead even as I go down the garden: I have a couple of things I want to do, but am likely to get distracted by something else I have been meaning to do for weeks. I don’t generally write lists (this is a close as I get to recording anything about the garden, save a seed list with what to plant when and a plan of what potatoes are in which rows). I like the feel of it as being more ORGANIC: one goes with the flow, lets the plants do the talking and it seems to work. The look of the garden will change, though, with suggestions from the Assistant to plant the rows of kale and kohlrabi perpendicular to the longer rows of peas & mangetout. Funky.
It all freshens things up and avoids me catching repetitive planting syndrome “well this is how we did it last year so we’ll just do that again” – spoken in the sonorous voice of a middle-aged male. We don’t want that do we children?