Sunday, 14 June 2009

Let the harvest commence!

Now swarthy Summer, by rude health embrowned,

Precedence takes of rosy fingered Spring;
And laughing Joy, with wild flowers prank'd, and

A wild and giddy thing,
And Health robust, from every care unbound,

Come on the zephyr's wing,
And cheer the toiling clown...

John Clare (1835), The Rural Muse

A strong lemon-coloured sunlight is streaming across WTA as the day draws to a close here. WTA has had plenty of attention this weekend. Saturday morning was spent mowing the grass and today has been a combination of weeding and planting out calabrese (Belstar), Purple Sprouting Broccoli (Red Arrow?), Brussel Sprout (Eliclipse) and Leek seedlings (Autumn giant). There just about no better place be when the weather is like it is today in Old Blighty. Saturday and Sunday have been incredibly warm, providing ideal growing conditions.

The Hearing Scientist has been today's guest gardener on WTA and has starred by planting out about 100 leeks seedlings I grew from seed earlier in the year. The Hearing Scientist runs an amazing English country garden, soft fruit orchard and quality country wine making operation, so taking time off to help on WTA goes well above and beyond the call of duty. Leek planting however is big stuff around these parts however. The Welsh icon is a favourite around here. Leeks are superior eating straight out of the ground and need little real preparation when it comes to cooking. Throw them in a pan with some virgin olive oil, saute and then add some lemon juice and you have some fine country eating! They're also a good onion substitute when onion stocks have dwindled toward the end of the winter. While the Hearing scientist dibbled away, and and mass planted leeks, I was able to get on and weed a section of bed I had placed under netting a few months ago to protect some Autumn Raspberry canes cuttings I planted straight into the ground late last year. I thought I chance my arm at starting my own soft fruit bed on the cheap and it looks like I could have some 'starters' with about four of the nine canes I put in starting to sprout.

WTA is already producing food. I harvested my first early potatoes (Swift) last week and got enough for about three meals. The harvest was a little disappointing but a couple of the local farmers who grow spuds for a living reckon 'first earlies' are never really up to much as far a big yields. Still, what I did get was great eating. What did didn't get in yields from Swift 'first earlies' was made up by harvesting first early spuds from some stray plant springing up from tubers I had missed in last year's harvest. During my weeding I came across a number of "stray" Winston 'first earlies' and ended up with with about 1 kilo of spuds technically planted over a year ago! Talk about taking foraging to a new level!

WTA, like all horticulture adventures, is a work in progress. Right now the 'work' is removing turf and turning more of the plot over to the ongoing production of organic veg. The less grass, the less mowing I have to do and the less energy (mine and fossil fuel!) expended. There is also the matter of a few hundred seedlings - Kale, Runner beans, Romenscu, Golden Beetroot, and more cauliflowers! I sowed a few months ago that are now begging to be out!

In the meantime, I'm partaking in the "grow your own" revolution - enjoying a glass of home-made elderflower wine, and eating some of The hearing scientists' English, home-grown strawberries...Grow well!

No comments:

Post a Comment