The bees seem happy…

There is A LOT going on at the moment in the garden. Most of it good. Some of it disappointing and some of it unfathomable.

News from the veg patch…

A poor companion as it turns out. A massive nasturtium…

The nasturtiums that I planted in order to discourage pests away from the runner beans and brassicas have turned out to be poor companions by growing to gigantic proportions and engulfing the very things they are supposed to be protecting. If they weren’t so pretty, they would have been removed so I have decided to eat them instead, liberally adding the leaves and flowers to salads. I have been aware of edible flowers for a while but have tended to regard the idea with the same level of contempt that I do when I see a menu referring to something that is basically a salad dressing as an ‘emulsion‘ or a gravy as ‘jus‘. Anyway, it turns out they have a vaguely peppery taste and are a good addition. The runner beans have finally managed to break cover and have sprinted to the top of the canes so I have snipped off the shoots and await some flowers and then ideally some beans…

I have thinned the carrot and leek seedlings. I found this quite hard to do as I was getting rid of perfectly healthy seedlings but they had to go for the benefit of a good harvest from the rest.

Go the brassicas!

The cavolo nero and kalettes are coming along nicely and have so far escaped the decimation that can be caused at the hands of the evil cabbage white caterpillar, safely snuggled in their brassica cage. Long may that continue…

Just one of the nine super healthy courgettes plants…..

The courgette plants are looking AMAZING. They look really healthy and are already producing a few. I gave them their frst tomorite feed at the weekend. With the 9 plants that I have I am expecting to be overwhelmed shortly. I didn’t mean to plant 9. I meant to plant 6. But it turns out that the 3 squash plants that I planted out are also courgettes. I genuinely don’t know how this has happened. I know that I have form where poor seed labelling is concerned but I was so careful this time! I even kept them on different sides of the greenhouse this year. I am convinced that some evil force raids the greenhouse at night and switches everything around. Last year I managed to give away some courgette and squash plants that turned out to be cucumbers. The bizarre thing about this was that I didn’t even sow any cucumbers. This particular incident continues to keep me awake at night wondering what happened… The upshot of this is that I now have no squash plants apart from the one that against all odds is doing quite well in the heavily shaded compost bin. So that is going to have to come out and go somewhere else…. Goodness knows where. Possibly in to the poorly performing asparagus bed that I am on the brink of digging up so I can plant other less disappointing things.

The patio salad beds are also doing well. Lots of lettuce, rocket and radish on an almost daily basis. Many of the lettuces that have been cut have rejuvenated already. For those that don’t, I am putting in plugs that I am raising in the greenhouse to try and maintain an ongoing supply. The Callaloo was planted out about 2 weeks ago. 2 of the 8 have vanished at the hands of slugs and the others look healthy but don’t seem to be growing as vigorously as I would like. Not having grown it before, I don’t know what to expect. Maybe it is waiting for warmer weather…

Lots of salad from the patio beds… Onions looking good too.

In other news…

The foxgloves have ‘gone over’ and I am in two minds whether to let them seed themselves or whether to stage an intervention to try and persuade them to seed where I want them to…. I reckon I have another couple of weeks to decide. The procrastination will no doubt result in them seeding themselves all over the place anyway so it is rather a moot point even having the debate to be honest. Makes me happy to think that I am exercising some level of control, though.

The buddleia is magnificent and the verbena bonariensis gorgeous, most of which has self seeded. The bees are having a whale of a time. Talking of which, there seems to be a colony of bees in one of our compost bins. Not sure if this is usual…? There is an almost constant stream of pollen-heavy bees trying to squeeze themselves in and out of a tiny crack in the bin. Bless them. They seem happy enough so I am staying well clear and letting them get on with it.

My new bird bath. I love it. The birds are just pooing in it so far. Rude.

All in all the garden is looking pretty good, if I do say so myself. The hostas in particular are looking splendid and as yet, relatively untouched by slugs. I have been using oats this year against them. I read somewhere that the slugs eat them, swell up and die. It is certainly a lot less messy and disgusting than beer traps and poison is not introduced into the food chain. I am also leaving lot of unwanted cabbage and lettuce leaves around to try and entice them elsewhere… I have purchased a couple of new hostas this year. One of which is a large leafed variety that I have been mildly obsessed with since seeing them during a recent local open gardens event. I have put it in a large pot for the time being and it seems very happy.

‘The wall of sweet peas’ has not turned out quite as I would have hoped… bit pathetic, really. Not getting enough light since the apple tree came into leaf. Should’ve foreseen this, really… I’ll bombard it with MiracleGro and see how we go…

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