The equinox has come and gone

We are past the equinox now and firmly in spring. I have planted out the summer garden seeds and even a few seedlings to get things started a little early. Things like tomatoes and squash. I’m never really sure when it will be safe to plant out those tender summer vegetables, just in case there is a late frost, but as the years go by, the chances of a late frost get more remote. Global heating is running rampant and no one seems to want to do anything about it. We seem to have some of the laziest and most corrupt and stupid politicians in the world. Firmly welded onto burning coal and gas as the solution to everything. Still refusing to commit to zero carbon economy by 2050. Pathetic!

On the bright side. The cherries have started t flower, always a safe sign that I can plant to the summer veggies. I checked my diary and found that I planted out the first summer seedlings last year on the 11th of Sept. This year I got into the garden and planted the first seeds on the 13th. pretty similar. 

The quinces are also flowering.

Even the young little apple trees, only I planted last year in the new orchard that we built after the fire, These are also flowering.

I pick off the small fruits as they form, so as to allow the tree to grow vigorously and develop a sound structure. However, I can’t help myself from leaving just one fruit on each tree to develop to maturity, just to see what the fruit looks and tastes like. It’s exciting to see the fruit swell up and mature. There is so much anticipation in the wait for them to become ripe.

All the seeds and seedlings are planted out and watered in. Now we wait and weed.

I spent a few hours each day for the past week weeding the poor neglected vegetable patch. We have been so busy in the pottery making pots and glaze tests, preparing for our first glaze firing, that I haven’t spent very much time in the garden over winter. No its catch-up time. I really have to spend some time in there, or the weeds will taker over with the coming warmth and longer day light hours and all the vegetables will be smothered.

In the past, I used to be in the garden everyday. Whenever I got a bit bored doing whatever it was, I could just walk out the door and around the shed, and into the garden. I’d pick something to chew on and do a bit of weeding and watering, enjoy the creative and productive break, then go back to work refreshed. There is just so much to do these days, that the list is longer than the piece of paper I try to write it all down on. I work until I’m too tired to do more, and the garden gets forgotten. At least I’m smart enough to know when to stop. I don’t want to wear my self out. I know that I can come back to it the next day and finish whatever it is that I didn’t get done the day before.

This week I took time out and weeded the asparagus bed. I desperately needed to be cleaned out to allow the new season growth to get a chance to thrive.

There are two beds, right at the bottom of the garden. They look great all cleaned out. I can’t wait for the new spears to come through. The artichokes behind them are just coming into head. The earliest variety is the early Italian purple. We ate them for lunch.

I grew these plants from seeds, they turned out to be quite spiky, it didn’t mention that on the packet! I just cut the top 1/3 off and peel the first row of outer leaves away, then there is no problem.

Janine and I have each spent a few hours here and there over the winter months weeding the garlic beds. Garlic doesn’t tolerate too much competition. it really impedes the development of good sized bulbs. So because it really needed t one done, we cancelled pottery work and did it – a few hours at a time, then 6 weeks later, we did it again. It has been a mild and somewhat damp winter, so all the weeds out grew the garlic. Now it’s done, it looks good and the garlic is pushing up and filling out. We may not need to weed it again before it matures in the next 6 to 8 weeks.

I try and grow all the garlic that we will need for the whole year, but rarely manage it. This year I managed to find the time to clear 5 beds and plant out about 200 cloves between March and May. Most of them came up, but not every one develops into a big strong knob. Some only grow to a small fiddly size that is rather a lot of effort to peel, but we work our way through them first. Janine doesn’t even bother to plait them, she just pours them all into a wicker basket that we keep on the kitchen work bench. Only when they are used up, do we proceed to bring down the bigger and easier to peel larger knobs. These plaits are hung up in the kitchen ceiling space where they are kept dry and well aired until we need them.

We have just one small bulb left of last years harvest, so I bought 3 knobs from the green grocers last week. These are imported from the northern hemisphere where they are in the opposite season. Janine also picked one very small bulb that had fallen over near the garden path. It wasn’t going to do well, so it’s our first bulb of the new season.