Green Shoots

Weeks 3 to 5 – Sunday 14 April to Saturday 4 May 2013

I confess that I have not done as much in the garden this past few weeks on account of the wet weather, illness, other commitments and some problems with the soil.  I have discovered that the soil is extremely lumpy with clay.  This has forced me to reconsider my planting programme as some of the seeds I planned to sow (such as radishes) need a fine tilth.  I have therefore had to spend time digging over the clay soil time and time again to try to break it up. However, I have nonetheless managed to do some planting and have started to see the first results of my labours.  9 of the 10 asparagus crowns has produced a spear, my first block of mangetouts is now visible and the rhubarb is flourishing. Unfortunately there is still no sign of my potatoes.  Perhaps the soil was too cold for planting after all. I am also disappointed to see no sign of the peas.

Jerusalem Artichokes

I am a fan of these.  They taste like new potatoes but don’t make you put on as much weight.  They are very easy to grow and indeed once planted are quite invasive and difficult to eradicate as when lifted they always leave some small tubers in the soil for next year’s harvest.  As they grow very tall and don’t mind the shade I have planted them in Bed D along the hedge facing North.  I have planted tow varieties in two blocks for successive harvesting. I don’t know the varieties, one was given to me by my sister-in-law from her garden and the other was ordered by Hilary for me from Thompson and Morgan.

Broad Beans

Neither Hilary nor I like broad beans so I had not planned to plant any.  However, my sister-in-law gave me some plants from her greenhouse and it would have been churlish to refuse the kind offer.  In any case they will be good for the soil.  I have planted two rows of them at the far end (ie Western) of Bed C so that they do not shade any other plants. The plants are a longpod variety, “Red Epicure”.  According to Dr Hessayon they have a distinctive flavour so I will either continue to hate broad beans or find myself converted to loving them!