As April draws to a close, it’s time to take a spin around the veggie garden. The seeds I planted on March 25th are up and nearly ready for transplanting or thinning out. In this bed are: radicchio, cavolo nero (Tuscan kale), rainbow chard, beetroot, French radish, cos lettuce, mixed lettuce, spinach and turnips. Lots of good things for winter soups and salads.The next bed is my Surprise bed. I had too many packets of out of date seeds, most dating back to 2009, so I threw the whole lot in this bed. So far, the results are good, with tatsoi, mustard, coriander, and other mysteries popping up. You have to congratulate the zucchini plants. They bear from late November to late April-that’s five months and still producing. I picked another three this morning, which formed the basis of a grilled zucchini and marinated fetta salad.
The chilli are so slow to colour. If we stay frost-free, they will hang on for a few more months and finally turn red.The raspberries are putting on a repeat performance, some as big as strawberries. First up, best dressed. When there are so few, they never quite make it to the table.The Greek Basil bushes remain healthy and the Cavolo Nero from last winter is having a renaissance.To do list includes:
- preparing beds for garlic planting. I prefer to plant garlic cloves in May, but so long as they go in before Winter Solstice, June 21st, they will be fine. I have a huge stash tucked away in a dark corner of my pantry. My new trick is to bury some whole bulbs under the cold earth in May, ( weather depending) and when I see green shoots, I lift the bulbs and separate the cloves into neat rows. I attempt to grow around 300 plus a year- one whole bulb for every day plus more for planting out the year after. Garlic loves rich soil and requires Winter and Spring watering if the season turns dry.
- cleaning up the last remaining tomato bushes and adding the stalks to the bonfire stack (not safe to compost old tomato vines, they say) and tying up the stakes for next year.
- Preparing the beds for sowing broad bean seeds. More manure and more compost needed. Our Wwoofer, Renato, is happy to help.
- Thinning out and/or transplanting seedlings from last month’s sowing.