I must be a very simple soul: even after twenty five years of having a veg patch, I still love that moment of harvesting and eating the ‘first’ of everything through the year. This week it was the ‘Greyhound’ summer cabbage, officially my very first outdoor vegetable crop (despite the pigeons’ best efforts) so I was pretty chuffed – and they are scrummy.
We’ve eaten the last of the polytunnel salad so it’s time now to start on the outdoor leaves: red and green ‘Salad Bowl’ and ‘Little Gem’ lettuce, baby chard and spinach leaves and masses of fresh herbs to pep them up: mint, lemon balm, oregano, marjoram, chervil, dill, coriander, chives… I’m determined to use more flowers in salads this year, too. This week’s choice: coriander and chives, so pretty!
The white and red spring onions are just about ready to pull and I’ve planted extra rows of mesclun and ruby chard so there’s plenty of salad to come.
It’s been a very hot week here (28˚C in the day and 17˚C at night) so watering the polytunnel has been a full-time and sweltering job, it feels like a rainforest in there.
The plants are romping away and I think I’m slowly winning the battle of the aphids (I’ve been hunting them down and squashing them every morning) although I have found several of the little blighters still lurking in the aubergines.
Outside the patch is filling up and starting to look quite summery. The broad beans and peas are covered in flowers and the pods are setting.
The curcubits (which have looked a bit sad since going out) have perked up and taken off in the heat; I have lost an outdoor cucumber but there are two strong plants in the tunnel so we won’t be without. I got so fed up with my destined-for-outdoors tomato plants doing nothing in pots in the tunnel that I shoved them all in the ground a couple of weeks ago and covered them with jam jars. Cue several cool, miserable days and cold nights but they were fine tucked in their little glass houses and are going well now. Roger has been training me in how to pick out sideshoots this week, I’m totally paranoid about breaking off the wrong thing. After all the grief these toms have given me this year I may well have to open a bottle of bubbly to celebrate the first sweet juicy little fruit (that’s assuming there will be some, of course…) 🙂
I’ve also lost patience with those lazy leeks and they’ve gone in the ground at last; to be fair to them, they had some impressive root systems so I’m hoping they’ll show a bit more enthusiasm now they’ve been watered into their own little holes. I’ve also sown another row of peas, planted out the young ‘Kalibos’ red cabbage and potted on the globe artichokes.
The bugs, birds and beasties have been a bit of a headache this week. The ants (of which we have far too many out here) are merrily farming blackfly on the broad beans and a mole has tunnelled underneath my basil seedlings. My young brassicas have been ravaged by flea beetle and pigeons, so it’s back to the wonky-but-effective net tunnels for the time being.
Most worryingly, the onions have taken a bit of a dive and it looks like onion fly so I’m fretting about how much of the crop we might lose. No onions in France? It can’t happen! Looking on the bright side, we don’t have a huge slug problem and there are no cabbage whites – yet.
At long, long last the nasturtiums have decided to germinate (I’ve never had trouble with them before) and will no doubt catch up quickly. One of the little roses I rescued from the original garden ‘jungle’ is flowering – quite a little beauty!
This will be my last blog post for a while as I am saying goodbye to the garden (and Roger) for several weeks and going back to the UK. It will be a big wrench and I shall miss them both terribly but it is for the best possible reason: the arrival of our first little grandchild, due any moment – I am SO excited!!!! I’ll be able to log on and check what’s happening on the Vegblogs site and of course I’m leaving the patch in Roger’s very capable hands (in fact, he can sort out any messes I’ve made while I’m away and maybe have a little blog himself…) but I shall be excited to see how much everything has grown and changed by the time I get back in July. Mmm, so much to look forward to –peas, beans, baby beetroot, courgettes, cucs… but until then: au revoir! 🙂