Slow painting

Sunday, 14 April 2013

First deckchairs of the year

Until now it's been a case of keeping moving to keep warm, but yesterday at the plot it was warm enough to take a break from digging and soak up the sun.  All of 10 degrees, but it felt blissful after a winter that has seemed never-ending.

Not much blogging has been done, but a fair amount of digging.  The blessing of this cold Spring has been that the weeds haven't got going, so digging the ground over hasn't been as hard as it might have been.  Hard enough, tho, and the ground has been hard through lack of rain. 

Below, the strawberry bed in mid-clean.  It's finished now, and plants dressed with sulphate of potash.  Couch grass seems to love strawberry plants, twining itself around their roots and popping up in mid plant.  I don't doubt that it will return to the fray.

The bare ground below holds the newly-planted potatoes.  Two rows of Red Duke of York, two of Mayan Gold (hoping that they will live up to Monty Don's praise of them), and one of Ratte, a salad potato.  The tubers had been chitting for so long that I'm concerned that they will be over-chitted - they had started to wrinkle up - so I hope they will get going and grow.

We have had a paltry harvest of brassicas.  The purple and white sprouting broccoli has still to sprout, and frost has killed most of the calabrese.  However some new shoots of calabrese have survived, as has the purple kale and savoy cabbages.  I'm in two minds about the purple kale.  It does look lovely as a plant, and steamed with a plateful of green lentils, but it made a bizarre addition to my traditional Scotch broth, turning the whole thing a pale lilac.

As for the leeks, they have sulked all winter.  I'm making the best of it by thinking of them as gourmet baby leeks.

There has been curiously little sign of life at the allotment site over the past few weeks.  The weather has been fair, if bitterly cold, and it seems as if people are reluctant to emerge from hibernation.  Everything feels suspended, and it's been difficult to think ahead to a time when winter will end.  When the temperature rose during the night yesterday, with rain and wind, I felt like Laura Ingalls Wilder in 'The Long Winter', when the chinook started to blow.


Linda Claxson said...

That 10 degrees makes a huge difference in the enjoyment of the garden doesn't it.
We've had a few days like that here in the Highlands lately and they've been most welcome.
Have to say your leeks look alot more promising than my own do right now.
Thanks for sharing


Mal said...

Well I dug up the last of our leeks yesterday and I've now sown most of the spuds (which I would have expected to have done by Easter). Wasn't it stormy last night. More like a jet engine than helicopter though! (smiley)

Janice said...

I can't wait for a chinook to blow in, even though they give me a migraine. It snowed on Thursday-about3cm. but was all gone on Friday. Yesterday afternoon it started snowing and by this morning we have 23cm.!!!! It will be a while before all that is gone. Here in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains we never plant a garden before the May long weekend. Usually aroune the 24th. Some years it has snowed on that weekend and we don't get our gardens in until we are into June. Needless to say, we have a very short growing season and nothing can be grown in the ground over the winter.

Angie said...

We certainly needed a bit of heat. It's good to see the deck chairs out and pleased to read you've got your tatties in!

Mark Willis said...

I reckon your "over-chitted" spuds will be OK. Last year I planted in August some tubers that had been left over from my Spring planting, and they did OK, despite being very wrinkly!

Sue Garrett said...

I've nearly finished tidying the strawberries - just some to plant in gaps where some plants died over winter.

clairz said...

It's always fun for me to compare our respective gardening months. Our "hot April weather" here in southern New Mexico is still something I am getting used to, as at our former home in New Hampshire we were accustomed to much cold and even the occasional snowstorm at this time of year. I would like to learn how to grow some winter crops here. The farmers all around us keep their fields full of crops all year long!

Kelli said...

I like your deck chairs. The weather has been so up and down, some nice sun lately but then hail stones and gales etc. I'm wishing I had a giant poly tunnel to keep me and plants cosy!

This is Belgium said...

wishing you success in this challenging endeavor!

Judy SheldonWalker said...

I like your chairs too. Did you cover them yourself?

I planted blue potatoes for the first time and it appears that the pests got them. My chives are doing well though.