The growing season is in full swing and our vegetable garden is starting to take shape after all those miserable months of winter. We’ve been enjoying our home grown asparagus, which DJ planted four years ago, for weeks now and it’s a real treat. One of our favourite dishes is to boil up some spaghetti pasta, then fry garlic, onion, a few mushrooms and chopped bacon in a pan, adding chopped asparagus and serving the mixture on top of the pasta with some grated parmesan. If you’ve got some leftover stilton or dolcelatte cheese to dot on top, it’s even tastier. We have two different asparagus varieties, one of which is chunkier than the other, so we have to gauge the cooking time carefully as the chunkier stuff takes longer to cook.
The potato plants (Sharpe’s Express) are coming along well. The plants at the back of the bed weren’t growing as quickly as the others, so DJ put a cold frame over them and now they’re huge. Our broad beans are also looking good. Over the weekend, he planted out our courgette plant (defender) under a cold frame too. Already it’s enormous. How quickly courgette plants grow never ceases to amaze me. He’s also just planted out this year’s sweet corn plants. They’re in a spot that Dougal the cat likes to sunbathe in, so I’m hoping he’ll find a new place for that activity or we will be in trouble. My carrots are going great guns, although they aren’t quite as impressive as DJ’s early Nantes which are competing in a neighbouring pot.
However, we’ve had some issues this year, too. The fig tree, which DJ invested in last year, started out with several figs on it, but many of them turned a funny colour and dropped off and now we only have one, which is disappointing. We think this might be because of either the cold weather or inconsistent watering. Last week’s chilly temperatures also posed a challenge for our tomato plants. DJ had just potted them on into grow bags in the green house before realising that temperatures were going to drop wildly at night. Luckily, thanks to DJ’s ingenuity, they are still with us.
I’ve also had mixed results again with the flowers I’ve been growing for my cut-price hanging baskets. Only two geraniums have germinated – although this is a big improvement on last year – and a handful of my petunias, although thankfully enough. Only one aster germinated (at least, I think it’s an aster) and unusually the nasturtiums I planted were a complete washout. But luckily a few nasturtium plants have sprung up self-seeded in the vegetable patch, so I may use those as free replacements!
Let’s hope everything else goes to plan in the veg garden, and not just because it will be a great supplement to our diet again this summer. I have a confession to make…I have entered DJ and the veg patch for a local gardening competition. I saw it advertised a few weeks ago and couldn’t resist it. I tried to keep it a secret so it would be a surprise, but when he got home from work I couldn’t stop giggling to myself and in the end he prized the information from me. I think he’s actually quite chuffed, but, of course, it means the pressure to produce a good vegetable display is even greater than usual! I’m keeping my fingers crossed but I think he will do well. Unfortunately, he keeps telling me I will have to do some serious weeding to make it up to him…
I’m taking a break for the next two weeks but will be back with you after the bank holiday. Happy veg growing and frugal living until then and have a great couple of weeks. See you soon, Piper xxx.
How is your garden growing this year? What successes and failures have you had so far during the growing season? Leave a message and let me know.
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