Well it’s been a very busy month for my veg plot, lots of rain, lots of blistering sun and lots of happy growth…and lots of weeds. And lots of hard work, slotted in at nap times and after bed times.
Finally everything seems to be taking off after a rather slow start to the season. The patch’s rapidly filling up and almost everything for the next few months have happily been sown and planted. YIPPPPPEEEE.
My tomatoes are going great guns. Suddenly from teeny weeny seedlings I planted out a few short weeks ago some of them are now flowering and growing handsomely tall. I did a count a couple of days ago and realised to my complete surprise I had fifty four plants, YES 54 PLANTS. I somehow kept sowing more seeds, in the belief that most of them were failing to germinate. They were, just slowly. Do you think that may be a tad excessive for a family of four? I feel a whole host of tomato recipes coming along shortly!. At least there’s some variety though, with cherries, beef and plums.
The cucurbits are all fairing pretty well too. My courgette plants (7), cucumbers (8) and pumpkins & various squash (31 – again a tad on the excessive side me thinks but they do store so well!) are all steadily growing. I so can’t wait for courgette season to commence, one of my favourite and most versatile veggies. I’ve re-sown melon seeds three times now as some sweet-toothed little thief keeps eating my seeds and seedling tops. Fingers crossed this time they’ll come good.
The peppers and aubergine seedlings were planted out last week, and although the plants were all on the very small and scrawny side they seem to be loving our soil and finally growing some. Good, another two of my fave veggies. And the brussel sprouts are finally on the off, yay!
My potatoes plants are prettily starting to flower which means they’ll be ready soon, though I’m not too keen to go rummaging around them too much after yesterday’s experience of finding my first ever viper camping out under their cool canopy. Believe it or not we’re now into June and I’ve still not finished planting all my tatties out, there’s still another row or two of ‘old’ potatoes to get out there. This week’s priority without fail.
After a terrible rate of germination last month (I don’t think the extremes of weather helped too much) I’ve had to re-sow most of calabrese, swiss chard, purple sprouting broccoli, spring onions, swede, french and borlotti beans. And thankfully they’re all looking pretty promising this time around.
What we’ve got to eat: We’re happily munching on lots of holy rocket (badly attacked by the greedy flea beetle but nevertheless tastes great….after a thorough wash!), as well as my favourite rocket & Parmesan salad we’re loving it in chorizo or merguez sandwiches or with prawns & chilli in a simple pasta sauce. There’s also plenty of salad leaves finally ready for the eating and spinach galore. I made a fab Spinach, Courgette & Prawn Thai Green Curry last night, but we’ve been enjoying it mainly so far simply wilted with plenty of olive oil, lemon and black pepper. The Swiss Chard is also ready for the eating and is starting to grow in abundance, happy face here! It’s great in stir fries and curries, used just like spinach, but I’m looking to be a little more inventive this month and celebrate it more in it’s own right. There’s also a handful of peas every now and again which the kids greedily eat like sweets, but they don’t seem to fair well here…possibly too hot and not enough water? Last but not least there’s the herbs which are flourishing (thyme, thyme and more thyme, chives, parsley, oregano, coriander on it’s way, rosemary and sage) and the veg plot favourites of radish and strawberries. We’re miraculously getting about a punnet a day of strawberries which we’re all loving, the kids especially who get to pick them.
My next tasks are a major weeding operation closely followed by mulching, probably with grass cuttings as that’s what we seem to have a lot of. Has anyone any experience of mulching?. I certainly haven’t but am figuring it’s benefits would be two fold, good for water retention and to stop weed growth. And planting out the rest of those damned potatoes!.
Well that’s it for this very busy month of May, and very much looking forward to an equally busy June. Before I go, here’s one last photo of a very happy and fat caterpillar munching on my parsley,