A moan a day...

It Wouldn’t Be Gardening If I Wasn’t Allowed To Moan About It!

As a gardener it sometimes feels like I’m always moaning about something. Take the weather for example: Not enough rain; too much rain; too dry; too wet; too windy; too cold.

 

Allotment Sheds (1)

 

Mostly this relates to how my plants are likely to react rather than anything else. I just get on with it. If it’s too cold, wet, windy, I put on the right coat or whatever and get stuck in. My Regatta waterproof coat that I’ve had for many years, sees me through whatever the elements throw at me.

The last few weeks have been exceptionally mild, and Spring has definitely sprung. Most days the mercury has been up high, with it only dipping back down overnight. This night-time cold means it’s not quite safe enough to grow many things outside unprotected, but under the cover of plastic cloches my veggies on the allotment are off to a flying start.

 

Plastic Cloches

 

 

I’ve got radish and lettuce that are probably only a few weeks away from being ready to pick and eat, as well as rainbow chard, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli, all of which are coming along nicely.

 

Rainbow Chard

 

Will This Year Be A Bumper Harvest?

Each year at this time, I wonder which crops will be the best, and which ones I will struggle with. Last year I had my peas ravaged by pea weevil (which seems to be back again this year), and my overwintering broad beans, didn’t overwinter particularly well. So far though everything else is looking good.

 

Not All About The Plants.

I love being down on my allotment. I have it to help provide us with food, but it’s also a bit of a sanctuary from the world. Things seem to move at a different pace some days. It’s not uncommon for me to get a call or a text when I’m down there, asking me how much longer I’m going to be or to check I’m still alive!

It’s also not all about the plants; I spent a lot of time last weekend watching the birds. We had visits from soaring buzzards, as well as a sparrowhawk, and little egret.

Buzzard

 

Coming Soon.

It won’t be long now, before the weather improves further and the temperatures overnight regularly stay above 5°C, once we get there and the risk of frost subsides, it will truly be all systems go. Other plants, like runner beans can go in, and the plastic can be drawn back and eventually removed completely. This will make the plants easier to water, but then I’ll start moaning about the cabbage white butterfly laying its eggs on my brassicas!

 

Plant Of The Month.

Rhubarb

 

Has to be rhubarb, we’ve had loads. Here’s my recipe for stewed rhubarb (believe me it’s better than it sounds).

  • Take your rhubarb stalks and remove the leaves (you can’t eat the leaves, as they’re toxic, so throw them on the compost heap or in the bin). Clean the stalks and chop into pieces about 2.5cm long.

 

  • Place these in an oven proof glass dish, add a small amount of water (you don’t want to cover them, so just about halfway to the top of the rhubarb).

 

  • Add ground cinnamon and brown sugar to taste (about a level teaspoon of cinnamon and a level tablespoon of brown sugar to six stalks of rhubarb, add more sugar if you have a sweet tooth).

 

  • Add a generous handful of sultanas.

 

  • Put in the oven at a 160ºC / Gas Mark 4, for about 20 minutes. At this point, remove and stir with a fork to break-up (shred) the rhubarb. Return to the oven for about another 10 minutes, and then repeat the shredding process until the rhubarb is soft and stringy.

 

  • Serve straight from the oven (it will be very hot!) with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream or allow to cool and serve. Works great on porridge or muesli for breakfast!

 

And that's all from me...for now. If you have any gardening questions, you know where to find me!

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