As someone who mostly just sees the items still on the to do list and forgets to pat herself on the shoulder for all that has been crossed off, these ‘looking-back’ posts are really good for me. I would almost say ‘therapeutic’. Because when I look at the photos from last month and compare them to the end of April pictures – wow! Progress!
The most visible step forward is perhaps that we mulched the paths between the raised beds with wood chips. A major job but when done properly, it means minimal path maintenance for the rest of the season. Within the beds, despite the cold, shallots, garlic, broad beans and peas are growing well.
Early potatoes suffered some frost damage, despite being covered by fleece, but seem to recover quickly. We’re starting to harvest some leaf mustard. Some years I like to sow different varieties in separate rows but this year I just sowed a mix. I like the variety in leaf shape, color and taste!
One of the experiments I am doing this year is growing grains on a small (very small) scale. I have sown spelt, hulless oats, barley and emmer. Some are already sprouting. If any of you have grown grains, I would love to hear about it!
Next to the raised beds, we are making a little cottage garden – a mix of edibles and ornamentals. There are gooseberries, honeyberries, blueberries and nanking cherries, interplanted with herbs, perennial vegetables (artichokes!) and lots of flowers. In time, self-sowing plants such as honesty, calendula, foxgloves and lupines will bring more nonchalance to the design (because a cottage garden should not look planned) (which is pretty hard to achieve deliberately!).
Meanwhile, our backyard which is planted with about 90% perennials is thankfully doing well without much attention from us.
The Mirabel tree flowered a few weeks ago and now it’s the apples turn. Tulips are beautiful and the perennial vegetables are thriving.
On the windowsill I have pre-sown courgettes and squashes, including some new to me varieties that I am trialling for a gardening magazine. Sometimes people assume that after having gardened as long as I have, you ‘know everything now’. No, you never ‘know everything’ – every season is different, there are always new plants to try and smarter techniques to develop – and that’s the beauty of it!