|My father and I in Spain summer 1964|
My father had a love hate relationship with his garden, much of it he really enjoyed and like all of us, sometimes it just felt like a chore. It was Dad who helped me discover the joy of growing plants and even as an adult with my own home he would grow annual flowers for me in his greenhouse and give them to me when they were ready to plant out after the last frost.
So, this morning as I did my daily walk around the garden, I took photos of the things that I would show to Dad if he was here walking around with me.
The tomatoes in the greenhouse are coming along. We ate our first tomato earlier in the week and there are now another four ready to eat. I've think that next year I will get the plants into the ground in the greenhouse rather than grow them in pots as the ones planted directly into the soil are growing much more strongly. I'll also get them into the ground earlier than I did this year.
One of the Cream Legbar chickens has been sitting on a clutch of eggs for 11 days now. We leave her alone to do her broody thing apart from checking on her twice a day and partially opening the door to her little house each morning (and closing it at night) just to give a little ventilation in there. She is lying so flat on the eggs that she looks like she has melted. I hope that she is as good at being a mother as she has been about sitting on her eggs.
The patty pan squashes are just starting to grow little fruits, this one is about an inch across, small but as it's our first squash in the garden, I think it looks just perfect.
The squash are planted on top of one of the spent brewery grain compost piles. When we made the pile and planted the squash plants in little soil pockets, the pile almost reached the top of the pallet bay. As you can see, it has now reduced to about half the height it was.
The pumpkins that were planted in a large compost heap are coming on in leaps and bounds. Some of the leaves are now about a foot across and there are lots of flower buds, so hopefully we will get a few pumpkins. The seeds were given to me by my grandson, so I would like to be able to give him a pumpkin as a 'thank you for my present'.
The sweetpeas (which were my father's favourite flower to grow) have burst into bloom as they scramble up the rustic wigwam that I made using hazel poles. The scent of them fills the air around them and is a lovely way to be greeted as I walk through the gate.
This apparent mess is the nest that Mrs Warne has made in the base of a compost bay. We haven't had any eggs from the ducks for a few days and last night Mr J discovered that she had created this splendid nest and found three eggs in it. She certainly looked less than impressed this morning that her stash of eggs had disappeared, so I hope that she doesn't now go and find another place to build a nest. It won't be long before (hopefully) there will be some ducklings to join them in their side of the paddock. The eggs are due to hatch around 29th July and the ducklings should be out in the paddock with them two to four weeks later.
The broad beans have grown well, it's the first time I have grown them as I didn't like them when I tried them as a child. I ate a few this week in a supper made from home grown vegetables and I really liked them. So now Mr J will have to share the broad bean crop!
The pea plants have started cropping even though the plants are less than a foot high, now we have put some netting up for them to climb up, I am hoping that they will scramble up the netting and produce even more lovely pea pods filled with sweet little peas.
The damson trees (or are they plums?) are heavily laden with ripening fruit. There are so many fruit that we will be able to eat them fresh, bottle, freeze, make jam, jelly, sauces, sorbet and wine and still have plenty left over for the birds, bees and other insects to have their fill.
White flowered White Lady and Flavour Star runner beans are in full flower now and small beans are starting to form, although I've noticed that a few of them are showing signs of slug attack. I will need to be more vigilant about slug removal in the mornings and evenings. I really dislike picking slugs off plants, I hate the residue that gets left on my hands (or gloves) and don't take any pleasure in disposing of them.
The Legbar girls had been a little under the weather since their move to their new house, but I'm pleased to see that they have picked up again and seem happy and settled in their new arrangement. They are even starting to accept that the new Cream Legbar cockerel is their mate and tolerate his 'attention'.
I am delighted that the parsnip bed is thriving, I was so unsure that the parsnip seed would germinate as I didn't get them into the ground until late May. But nature has a way of catching up and the plants are now six to eight inches high. The marigolds that mark the rows of parsnips are redundant in terms of being row markers, but are giving a wonderful display of colour and the pollinating insects are loving them.
I am completely confused by the growth of some plants. This bed has perpetual spinach on the right carrots (and weeds) in the centre, dwarf sunflowers on the left and two rows of purple sprouting broccoli. Some of the purple sprouting seems to being growing well, but other plants are hardly growing and I don't understand why there's such a disparity in size. The plant in the back of the photo is about twice the size of the two nearer the front.
I have the same issue with the January King cabbages. Most of the two rows are romping away, producing lots of new luscious growth, while one plant has almost failed to grow and two near it are not doing as well as the rest.
Some of the first lettuces that I planted have been harvested by cutting at the base, then regrown and we've had a second crop of leaves, but now they have started to bolt and go to seed. So this morning I lifted those plants and gave them to the chickens. I know that the girls prefer kale to most other greens, so I wasn't sure that they would touch the lettuces, but the plants see to have met with their approval.
A little later this morning, my sister and I will be going to put some flowers on Dad's grave, so I'm going to cut some sweet peas to take with us, but in the meantime, of course, it's time for a cuppa.
If you'd like to receive my blog posts direct to your inbox just enter your email address in the box below and follow the instructions. You'll probably need to confirm by clicking a link in your email inbox and then you will receive my blog each time a new entry is published. You can, of course, cancel your subscription at any time.