It’s all going like the clappers

Monday, 28 April 2008

Late April, what a time of year for the obsessive veggie grower! With the ground getting warmer and the days ever longer everything is just growing like the clappers. My beetroot and artichoke seedlings are filling their cloches and need fresh air; the early potatoes are a mass of green under their cloche; the early broad beans are in full flower; the lettuce and spinach in the green house demand to be eaten, so lush and Green are they, and, between the showers I have sown runner beans and French beans of all types under cloches. My main crop spuds too are poking their noses through the soil and I have given them their first earthing up. Short rows of chard, turnips, rocket, spring onions, spinach, more lettuce and radishes are all coming through as are the weeds, so I have my little ring-hoe to hand at every inspection.

In the greenhouse celery, celeriac, fennel are all transplanted into bigger cells to grow on and be hardened off in a couple of weeks time. I have planted out tomatoes in the greenhouse border and a fine collection of peppers and chills now demand to be potted on.

My Robinson peas are growing fast too and I will spend this evening building a giant frame for them to scramble up. And with spring cabbage, early cauliflowers, calabresse and Brussels sprout plants all growing fast the allotment is looking happy and healthy.

Now is the time to get successional. I’ll sow a short row of lettuce very couple of weeks and also radishes, which unless eaten young get woody and unpleasant. Also herbs like coriander and rocket especially, quickly go to seed, so a sowing once a month for the net three months will ensure a plentiful supply right through to the autumn.

This is such a fabulous time of year. The asparagus is coming through which means I’ll be cutting later this week; the early garlic is starting to swell promising succulent new bulbs to eat whole early in June. This is the time when diligent husbandry really pays off with good crops into the summer and beyond. The madness of harvesting is to come. meanwhile I can chill out with a hoe, complete the final preparations for summer planting of brassicas, sweetcorn andcucurbits and spend many a happy hour on the allotment day dreaming about the bounty to come.

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