Finally, the greenhouse is emptying. All those tenderly planted seeds, swaddled in home-made compost and lovingly watered, are now growing up into proper plants.
Two full-length tiers of staging were crammed with seed trays. I grow bedding every spring for my (many) tubs and a selection of veg for the three raised beds. Strawberry p!ants and raspberry canes are a permanent fixture, but the veg changes every year. Well, except for Gamford’s prize tatties which are hand chosen each year from the seed potato varieties at Potato Day, carefully chitted and eventually planted out in one of the three beds.
All the rest is up for discussion, debate and planning.
We always grow copious quantities of lettuce, which we use as salad leaves, picking what we need and letting it grow back again. Cut and come again, as they call it.
I sow in three-week intervals so there is always a plentiful supply late on in the year. It’s such a good feeling not to have to jump in the car and race off to the shops on a hot afternoon because you forgot the lettuce and tomatoes for the BBQ – only to get there and find the shelves empty because it’s a baking July afternoon and everyone has had the same idea.
Speaking of tomatoes, this is one crop I’ve had real problems with.
I never seemed to sow them early enough and would end up with pikes of unripe fruit at the end of the summer.
I had to make jar after jar of green tomato chutney one year, and the year before last I refused to grow them at all, so traumatised was I at the enforced chutney-making.
Last year I tried Tumbling Tom in large containers, and kept them in the greenhouse.They grew rapidly into fairly compact but very bushy plants, laden with juicy red orbs. Success!
So Tumbling Tom it is this year, as well.
My friend, the lovely Yvette, and I both had great success with a frizzy green lettuce called Mizuno. No matter how heavily we harvested it, like ‘Terminator’ Arnie, it just kept coming back. And it never, ever bolted.
This year we are trying Mizur, a similar variety, so we’ll compare notes at the end of the season again.
Adventurous Yvette is also trying mini-squash this year. I am sticking to the more well-kent spinach and our perennial fave, chard.
So far, the spinach is a great improvement on the previous years when I’ve tried it, and it has bolted before I’ve even got it out of the greenhouse.
Gamford is also trialling dwarf French beans, or bush beans as he’s calling them, which makes them sound like an exotic Nigerian delicacy rather than referring to their habit.
Then there’s the more usual cosmos, nasturtium, alyssum, sweet peas and marigolds which I’ve just planted out in the tubs which look quite weedy just now.
Hopefully, they’ll fill out over the summer months (like they usually do) and give us a good show.