samedi 26 avril 2014

2014 Starting off the garden

Starting off my garden for 2014
Before starting garden......get out neighbour's cows I started tomato seeds and chilies way back in February in the warm bathroom under lights with my orchids that need extra care and humidity in the winter. And one or two flower seeds that need an early start like Sweet Peas and morning Glory. I have everything to convert an old cheap metal greenhouse that long since lost its cover, into a heated tent, but this winter (2013/14) never really got bad and I was very busy. I really started in 2013 with garlic, I have had garlic in the ground since December 21st, it is traditional here to plant on the Winter Solstice and harvest on the Summer Solstice, the 21 June. This will leave me a half empty raised bed to plant again, probably with some quick, cut and cone again salad leaves. Then in March and April I started planting beetroot, a salad leaf mix called Mesclun here and red onion sets all outside as it was so mild. I covered them with thin white fleece to protect from sudden cold nights but we did not have any this year! Global warming? Who knows? We have had minus 15 C in March before now, we are at 500 metres above sea level in the Pyrenees. Last week (April 16-18) we had daytime temperatures of 23 to 28 degrees C and everything put on a fantastic spurt of all my seed trays are piled up in the kitchen as we have had torrential rain and wind for two days over Easter. Gardeners need to be prepared for anything We had snow on the 5th of May a few years ago just after everyone had bought their organic veg plants at the local plant fair the day before which had been hot and sultry! Fortunately I had not planted out my new plants and I just brushed off the snow and brought them all into the kitchen and bathroom. Permanent plants in the veg plot I have three massive globe artichoke plants that are perennial and give about 15 fruits per season, and a mass of Jerusalem artichokes (like potatoes) put on a wonderful display of yellow, sun flower-like flowers in late summer, then we dig them up and eat them, leaving some to continue next year. Somewhere down there I had a massive Horseradish plant, but I cannot seem to identify it among the other robust weeds, so my original donor has given me two other pieces of root to plant this year.....I will make a large sign for it this time. Various herbs reappear every year, chives, Greek oregano, Sage Officianalis, thyme, rosemary, lemon balm, several mints, lavender (where would my blog be without it?) and of course fruit and nut trees, cherry, apple, almond, peach, plum, elderberry, walnuts, cob nuts etc. i supplement these perennial herbs with those I grow annually, corriander (cilantro), parsley, several basils, two different types of parsley, and dill. I may have forgotten something. We have seed swaps between villagers and friends, which is a good excuse for a get together. Then after Easter when everyone (hopefully) has had lots of success with seed sowing, we often swap plants, and some people have that many they rent a table at the plant fair to sell their extras. I never have time to do this!! I am too busy buying everything else at the plant fair to sit down! The plant fair is the place to meet everyone from miles around, this year it is on the 4th of May and is the first local outside get together and barbecue of the year. We fill the back of our car with boxes to hold all the plants on their very short journey home. We find a table near the bar, order our lunch and some drinks, then I wander to and fro the stalls, ferrying plants back to my other half to take to the car. We mert all our old friends and shake off the cobwebs of winter together over a glass of red wine. This is one of my favourite days of the year I buy the rest of my organic tomato plants, some local heritage varieties, cucumber plants to trail up a wooden teepee, usually a variety of three or four courgette plants, and three or four aubergine (egg plant) plants. To supplement my lettuce plants and salad leaves I buy some small plants by the dozen, although I will continue to sow leaves throughout the summer.

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