Green Man gardening

‘If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow, don’t be alarmed now, it’s just a spring clean for the May Queen.’ Led Zeppelin

Bank Holiday weekend saw the Green Man Festival in a local town, a community event with roots deep in the ancient pagan celebration of spring and fertility. There was a definite whisper of the Green Man around the garden too, in the cuckoo’s call and hedgerow’s leaf burst; the weather may not be great but spring is here, things are happening.

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I didn’t dance round a maypole but maybe putting up beanpoles was a worthy substitute?

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It’s too early to plant the climbing beans – we are probably not out of the frost zone yet – but they’ve been out enjoying the sunshine and hardening off a little. Three wigwams for three varieties: borlotti ‘Lingua di Fuoco’with red spotty beans; ‘Cosse Violette’with beautiful purple pods; ‘Cherokee Trail of Tears’ heirloom variety with black beans great for drying and described as the ‘best bean there is.’

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The squashes, courgettes and achocha also spent some time outdoors acclimatising to life outside the house where they have been cossetted for several weeks. They really need to go into the ground, specially the achocha which are climbing over everything and attaching themselves with springy tendrils. Come on, weather!

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Roger has been creating a hotbed for the squashes in the kitchen garden patch: I dug lots of muck in last autumn, now he’s piled up grass clippings covered in soil so fingers crossed they should be happy plants.

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It’s lovely to see the seedlings zooming up. The mixed salad bowl lettuce look good (so far, no slugs . . .) as do two rows of beetroot.

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I’ve never grown giant goosefoot before so wasn’t too sure what to look for among the weed seedlings: no problem, they’re not called ‘Magentaspreen’ for nothing – there’s no mistaking those startling pink centres.

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Talking of colourful things, we’ve been enjoying the first baby radish of the year. Delicious.

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The polytunnel is fully planted, including some French marigolds I’ve grown from seed and planted along the path as companion plants. They’ll love the warmth once it gets going, everything in there is at a standstill in the cool temperatures – not dying, but reluctant to do much besides survive. Come on, weather (sorry, I’m repeating myself)!

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Roger has made a frame for the cucumbers in the hope of controlling them as they are very prone to travelling . . .

On the flower front, the fruit bushes are all covered in delicate blooms and the autumn-planted borage has opened its starry faces.

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Where we’ve cut back the undergrowth along the stream, banks of sweet violets have appeared.

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Surely the May Queen would approve? 🙂

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5 thoughts on “Green Man gardening

  1. Yes, come on weather! It’s just so slow to warm up. I had to plant three of the beans out already because they were getting too big in the greenhouse. I’m very interested to hear how the Cherokee beans turn out. Best bean ever, huh? My Cosse Violettes have just poked out, looking forward to them. Your tunnel looks very tidy inside, I like the stone path especially.

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    • I know, I always think it’s such a waste of May when it’s like this, it’s such a beautiful month. I’m going to have to make a decision very soon about some of the plants, the forecast doesn’t look too bad after the weekend so I think some things will find themselves outside come Sunday. We’ll see about those beans – I just love the whole story and history of their provenance and I have been told by a gardener that they’re good, so fingers crossed. 🙂

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  2. Would you still have night frosts? Everything seems almost summery in my eyes… We haven’t even sown beans or squashes/courgettes for pre-growing yet.
    We grow climbing bean Goldfield every year – it’s really reliable, with long, flat, stringless light yellow pods. Cosse Violette/Trionfo Violetto is one of our staples, and so is the pea bean.

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    • Unfortunately, night frosts are still a possibility. We don’t know for certain as it’s our first spring here, we’re not in a frost pocket and it’s not an exposed site so if it does freeze, hopefully it would only be very slight. Nothing we can do about the potatoes now, they are too big to earth up any more. As for the beans and squash they will have to go out this week as they are getting too big for their pots. I think I might try Goldfield next year, it’s always good to have something new on the list!

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