19 Feb 2020

Springing up in the veg patch

There hasn't been a lot to crow about in the winter veg patch but with the sun shining this morning, I found myself muttering 'This is a lovely day' (despite a 'fresh breeze' as the Met Office like to call it).  A little bit of sunshine makes everything look more promising. Making my way towards home, I diverted my steps for a quick look at the veg garden; every day makes a difference especially after the two recent storms. Plants were noticeably doing their planty growing thing and, with a spring in my step, I resolved to spend an hour in the garden before lunch.

Somewhere between the veg patch and home (only a few minutes walk), I switched to thinking about doing a bit more work on the hedge in the car park garden. (I really must think up another name for that space, Car Park Garden doesn't quite do it justice.) The Euonymus hedge needs some very severe restorative pruning to encourage it to bush up from the base and I need to tidy up the space to see if there's room for a mini greenhouse.

What started as a sunny but breezy moment of pruning soon turned into a battle against a gale force wind. And then it rained. Time for lunch, I told myself, and packed my tools away. I had managed a couple of hours but, admitting defeat for the day, I headed back indoors and turned my thoughts back to the veg garden - surely spring can't be far off, if only the weather would make up its mind.  I'm wondering if I should sow some chilli seeds.

Despite the changeable weather, the UK winter has been kind to us namby-pamby Southerners. On my earlier walk round the veg patch I'd snapped a few photos:

I was surprised to see wild garlic already well under way ...  Wild garlic has such a reputation for spreading that some might think me foolhardy for deliberately growing it. Not to worry, so far it's been remarkably self-restrained and seems happy to occupy just a few feet of soil under the cherry tree. Possibly the lack of regular watering (no nearby hosepipe) makes things inhospitable for new seedlings.

And so to broad beans. A bit of an experiment this as it's the first time I've tried over wintering beans. I set them out next to support sticks last December; tying them in now that they've grown is on the to-do list, although not being secured to stakes might have saved them from being ripped in half during the strong winds of Storms Ciara and Dennis. What I did notice (with not a little excitement) was that flower buds are starting to form on the plants and not a aphid in sight. Hopefully I'm not jinxing things with that last observation.

Kale is one of my winter veg patch staples, a vegetable I add to stir fries, soups, smoothies and, when the mood takes me, an omelette. It keeps going even in the harshest winter and it looks pretty. Even if it's covered with an ugly trellis to keep foxes off.  The Cavolo Nero plant that has kept going for so long has started to form flower buds - these are still edible but this is the second time the plant has run to seed; it has served me well. It feels very fitting that new plants will be raised from last summer's saved seed.

Looking ahead, the weather forecast is looking predictably gloomy (possibility of hail tomorrow!). So any gardening will be in short bursts while I go back to planning my seed sowing calendar indoors.

So let me leave you with this thought - aren't spring flowers just awesome?

Self seeded and so pretty. 

Tulips that I thought I'd dug up last year. Can't remember how many years these have been in.

First forget-me-nots are starting to flower. Some blue, some pink. And in profusion.

Ever reliable cowslips. 
Now I'm thinking I should move some of these to the Car Park Garden


  1. Your cowslips and forget me nots are way ahead of mine and I'm in the so called balmy south! Flowers seem to be coping well with our awful weather, far better than I am, they just flower regardless!

  2. I think the answer may be that we haven't had the wet weather you've had, Pauline - or, at least, as much of it! Also these are growing in my veg patch which is sheltered by a very low wall. Not sure if that makes a difference but I also have alliums and daffs coming up - will post when they're in flower. Hoping that spring is not too far off for you now. xx

  3. Oh yes, spring flowers are just lovely! Good to know you managed some gardening, it's been a washout here. What good value you've had from that kale!xxx

    1. Your washout weather has reached us this week, Dina - lots of rain but also the wind!!! Yikes! My bulb lasagnes on the balcony have been in and out like Jack in the Boxes. Hoping that true spring with calmer weather is just around the corner for all of us .... xx

  4. I do love spring flowers - the sight of them popping up lives the mood.

    1. Doesn't it just! Especially when the wind is howling and more rain threatened. Hoping for better weather next week, there's such a lot to catch up on in the garden.

  5. How exciting to see the wild garlic coming through Caro. We have a ready made supply when we go up to the caravan in the Lake District. It grows on the side of the lanes in the local village. I hope that your patch continues to be on its best behaviour.

    1. I was pretty thrilled to see the leaves coming through (and I love the look of the flowers when they arrive). I'm keeping a close eye on the self seeded stragglers - a few might have to be relocated to a local plant swap! Having a caravan in the Lake District sounds wonderful, I imagine the views and walks must be lovely, never mind the foraging!


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