There’s a piece in today’s paper explaining how the fashion conscious woman can wear socks with sandals and still look fabulously stylish… it’s here if you’ve been pondering whether to take this particular fashion route. I won’t be, but the article does illustrate the problem that both gardeners and the well-dressed woman about town are facing at the moment – the weather has changed. Just a few weeks ago we were enjoying warm sunshine during the day followed by cold nights, now it’s pretty much cold all the time. I’m guessing that the seeds germinating in the warmth of a couple of weeks ago are now wondering if they should have bothered, much as the ladies who pulled their summer sandals from the back of the wardrobe are.
Despite the relapse in the weather, things are looking up in the edible garden. The herbs especially are growing well. Fresh leaves on the mint, parsley, chives and tarragon have all been making their way up to the kitchen to use in pesto, mayonnaise and soup. There’s some wild rocket that’s reappeared in one of the raised beds too. Wild rocket is the perennial cousin of the salad variety, reliably popping up every spring and, if you’re not careful, seeding itself all over the place. The leaves are smaller and more peppery than salad rocket, but good mixed with a handful of chopped fresh herbs and some milder lettuce leaves.
Along with the herbs, we’re using up the last of the leeks, chard and kale to make some space for spring sowings of salad leaves. There’s so much to be sowing through April. At home and in the raised beds I look after at The Dutch House, I’ve started sowing some salad leaves – lettuces, spinach and rocket, with a row of radishes for variety. And in modules in the greenhouse, there are more lettuces, together with some coriander, parsley, nasturtiums and lots of cut flower seedlings coming along nicely.
The lasagne pots that I planted up last autumn have filled out well. They’ve probably been left a little bit too long, and the chicory needs to be taken out and used so that the garlic and shallots have room to breathe. I’ve been cooking chicory in a bit of stock with some frozen peas and, so far, no one has complained about the dish – pretty good going in this house. When I get some spare time I’m going to work out a combination of veg to grow using the lasagne style of planting through the summer. If you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them, spare time isn’t something there’s a lot of here right now.
Last week the first blossom appeared on the damson and greengage trees. The trees themselves aren’t much to look at, although this may be because they’ve not been well looked after, and could really do with someone giving them a good prune. The blossom is beautiful though – delicate white flowers with yellow-tipped stamens. Last year’s greengage crop was huge, but the blossom was, I think, later and there were plenty of insects around to pollinate the flowers. With colder weather, there might not be so much fruit… we’ll see.
The pear trees are showing signs of life too, with fat buds appearing on the branches. Nothing on the apple trees yet, but they’re always a bit later. The pink blossom is something to look forward to later in the month.