Ok, I realise my long-suffering husband may need an occasional break from my noise and nonsense, but I do feel locking me in the polytunnel is a bit extreme! It was an accident – I think– but I know from experience (yes, he’s done it before) that there’s no point in shouting for help as no-one can hear and it’s impossible to unhook the latch from inside. So, nothing for it but to keep busy and await rescue.
Luckily, I had lots to do. First, I planted pots of perennial herb seeds to increase our stock (oregano, pot marjoram, rosemary and chives) followed by lemon and purple basil, French marigolds ‘Red Brocate’ and ‘Mandarin’ and morning glory, all for the potager. Next, climbing French beans ‘Borlotto Lingua di Fuoco’ and ‘Yard Long’ went into section trays. I’m hedging my bets with tender things like these as I’m unsure of the climate here; some are going in indoors now, the rest into the ground next month.
I watered everything and fed all the pots as I think the bought compost I’m using is a bit dubious. I weeded the whole place to within an inch of its life, hoeing the empty bits and hand weeding the rows of salad leaves, coriander, carrots, parsley and radish. By this time, the smell wafting from my anti-slug coffee bucket had started to torment me but I can at least report some good news there. The wretched slugs had started munching their way through my sunflower seedlings last week so I tucked the coffee/eggshell mix around the rest and there’s been no more damage. Hooray!
By the time a rather sheepish Roger reappeared I felt like it had been an hour well spent – although I am seriously thinking about installing a deckchair, camping stove and emergency packet of biccies ready for the next time it happens…
We haven’t had a frost for several nights now (yippee!) so I’ve evicted the propagator plants on to the kitchen windowsill to toughen them up. The aubergines are dithering a bit but everything else looks fine. The last few seeds have gone into the heated propagator: melon ‘Canta Charentais’ and chilli peppers ‘Long Slim’ and ‘Scotch Bonnet.’
It’s been great fun – and an unexpected bonus – having some help outside this week. Sam and Adrienne decided they would earn their keep by lending a hand in the patch and what a difference it’s made! Between us, we’ve dug and cleared far more ground than I expected (the couch grass roots are like tangled spaghetti) and planted the early ‘Charlotte’ spuds.
We cut and ate the last cabbages, lifted and composted the spent kale and harvested the last of the coriander, which we ate as an accompaniment to curry (a big bunch simply mashed together with a clove of garlic, couple of fresh chillies, squeeze of lemon juice and salt to make a coarse paste. Delicious – go as hot as you dare!) I stone-picked the whole patch and hand weeded the garlic, peas, broad beans and parsnips.
In went another row of peas (Hurst Greenshaft this time) with a fresh planting of coriander, and the space for beetroot, chard, spinach, kohlrabi, lettuce and French beans is all ready to go. Phew! Inspired by their efforts, Adrienne and Sam went through my seed basket and made themselves a ‘student salad mix’ of leaves and herbs to grow on a windowsill this term and brighten up their meals. All three of our offspring are now growing their own food and that makes me a VERY happy mum! 😀