I love this time of year. Everything is hectic, there aren’t enough hours in the day, despite the longer nights, and the garden just gives back in the way only a garden can. It seems as though every plant I have is growing in a similar ilk to a GM triffid fed on a diet or raw steak and anabolic steroids and I’m harvesting flowers, vegetables, fruits and weeds on a pleasingly regular basis but slightly less so with regards to the latter.
The chickens have benefited from the increased tendency for plants to bolt and they’ve happily munched on Spinach, Chard and Rocket that have all switched in to flower production, along with the never-ending mass of Comfrey leaves, which are always a firm favourite. Together with my tortoise and rabbit, they’ve helped to hoover up all the weeds I pull and I now find myself actively encouraging their growth as the carotenoids in these plants, coupled with the rest of the greens they get, help to produce beautifully deep orange egg yolks.
In the vegetable garden things are going great guns and the raised beds, masses of organic matter and homemade liquid feed have all added to the increased vigour and overall health of my plants – I think. I’m still amazed at the entire lack of blackfly and aphids though. Has anyone else encountered this? I think that the marestail in the liquid feed may have helped with this but the likelihood is that the hard winter had more of a bearing on their decline. Sadly, this may also be true of Ladybirds as their presence was a massive highlight last year but is lacking right now.
The potatoes are yet to succumb to blight and my first harvest of ‘Home Guard’ (pictured above) was fantastic. The good people at Victoriana Nursery Gardens deserve a big thank you here as the seed potatoes they sent out were top notch and I’m really looking forward to harvesting ‘Pink Fir Apple’ and ‘International Kidney’ from them along with ‘Desiree’ and ‘Maris Peer’ which were another Pound Shop buy. Gooseberries and Blackcurrants have also been a highlight and are waiting to be turned into pudding over the coming weekend.
The pound shop cutting garden has also been a great success and has surpassed my wildest expectations. Not only have the plants grown, the semi-desicated roots didn’t look too promising, but they’re actually thriving and producing new flowers on a daily basis. I’ve cut a few bunches now and they really do look great and last well. The stars of the show right now are the Dahlias, a largely pink affair, they’ve really come to be something that I actually love and that’s not something I ever expected to say. I just can’t wait for the Gladioli and Sweet Peas to flower now.
In other news please see the competition page for a chance to win a garden bench and £100 worth of gift vouchers and don’t forget to vote for your favourite garden images on the Ryan’s Garden Facebook page.
Also, check out the Garden Hero blog and find inspiration in Simon's medal winning efforts at BBC Gardener's World Live.