Slowly but surely, the fruits of my labours in the garden are starting to pay dividends. Mangetout are becoming more plentiful with each passing day, much to the delight of the Mudlets, as they enjoy the crunch of the flat pods as a snack and are happy to find a handful in their pack ups. Thinning out continues in the first of the carrot beds and I can see from the size of the occasional exposed root top (which is then earthed up), that they love the bed they’re in this year and between the first two rows of carrots, the turnips are through – I need sow another row of those this weekend. The thinned out roots are still a decent baby carrot size and can be used as a much appreciated addition to our dinner plates.
Elsewhere, the male flowers are appearing at the top of the sweet corn, the first baby beans are forming on the french bean plants, tomatoes are growing almost everywhere you look and in the greenhouses cucumbers and chillies are also set and promising a good harvest this year. The onions are swelling in a very pleasing manner and it would appear that my precise planting is going to pay off. We even have the first pumpkins swelling across three varieties, so these will now be given regular feeds to encourage them to produce healthy fruit.
Over in my longest bed, the leeks have finally been planted out. As I’ve mentioned before, Leeks are the easiest of plants to put out and I now have 42 of the early yellow variety, Jaune de Poitou occupying one half and a further 43 of the later blue variety, Bleu de Solaise, in the other half of the bed. There is a noticeable difference in the hues of these varieties which I think will become much more evident in photographs as they grow. This year I have opted not to use cardboard tubes to help with the blanching – mostly because I forgot to save them over winter but then that’s maybe not such a bad thing because, let’s be honest, 85 cardboard tubes would take up an awful lot of storage space which I don’t have. There are probably too many leeks for this space but I plan to start taking some of them once they reach baby leek thickness.
Another success has been the cut and come again mixed salad leaves which have done brilliantly in their row between the parsnips. There is another row elsewhere in the garden which should be ready for picking by the time the existing one is at the end of its’ life but there is something satisfying about walking back from the vegetable garden, with a bowlful of mixed salad leaves which have required very little in the way of maintenance but you know would cost a small fortune in the supermarkets.
But the piece de resistance this week has been the harvesting of the first bag of Duke of York potatoes. I hadn’t planned to harvest them this early but the foliage on this bag had toppled over and was pretty much detached from the roots and so I thought I’d see what was what. All things considered, we managed to retrieve a respectable number of potatoes from the bag (I took only what I needed for one meal and left the rest in situ until needed) but I will be leaving the other bags for a few more weeks. I love the vibrant red colour of these potatoes and they tasted delicious with a generous helping of butter and black pepper.
So a pretty good week for the garden and, with a little luck, hopefully the sign of things to come.