Posted in Uncategorized, tagged frost on May 29, 2011|
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Vegetable gardening is all about timing at this time of year. We scan the weather forecasts for signs of a sudden late frost. We consult the television gardening gurus. We look over our shoulder at other allotment plots and see what everyone else is doing. The time comes though when we must throw caution to the wind and plant out our tomatoes and courgettes and hope for the best.
Ours went in last week but three nights ago the clear skies lowered the temperature just enough to nip the toms and courgies causing the outer leaves to become a sickly yellow. The winds have raised the temperatures since and I have no doubt these plants have been slightly set back but will recover.
I note with some relief that other gardeners have suffered the same fate. At least I am not in the boat alone. Potatoes and beans have all suffered but once again they will pull through no doubt.
Some have erected fleece shelters just in case but I feel that may be the last frost of the year. These could be famous last words! We shall see.
Every two weeks we have been sowing fresh rows of salad ingredients in order to keep a supply coming through the summer. This will be the task for this week. Already we have eaten our way through a row of radish and rather welcome they were too. This has left a gap for more lettuce to be sown.
The first of the sweet peas have come through and provided a welcome feminine touch of colour to the allotment.
Since my camera and my computer have decided not to talk to each other again this is a picture-less post but hopefully I will be able to sort out their disagreements this week!
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The late frosts always bite the hardest. At the bottom of the estate runs a beech hedge recently cut by the tractor and flailer and the new growth on the top has been well and truly frazzled. In the garden itself the frost has been selective in its touch. Mercifully the fruit blossom seems just fine but in the vegetable garden the potatoes have been nipped despite being hastily covered with soil but they will only be set back momentarily.
Many gardeners in the district now regret planting out their courgettes and runner beans too early. I always seem to be a while later than other gardeners, not because of some innate wisdom, but because I am so rushed off my feet that I am just trying to catch up with everything. My courgettes and runner beans remain in safe quarters but are eager to be planted soon!
A robin redbreast has built a nest between two cans in the garage. If you look carefully at the photo below you can just make out the face of the robin looking straight at you. I felt guilty taking the photo wondering if I had disturbed her on her nest but I took the photo and immediately left. The young robins fledged this week so all must have been fine.
I was working by the kitchen window and Cook Jenny was inside preparing the lunches. The window was open so I reached in and handed her some shoots of flowering trees including larch, ash and maple that I know she likes. She was pleased and gave me a broad smile. Later in the morning Sally, one of the domestics, turned up with a glass of home-made elderflower cordial and a slice of cake which was a welcome surprise indeed.
Down by the west of the walled garden is a beech tree growing into a bank whose roots have been exposed by the track that runs alongside leading into the woodlands. I like to snuggle down sometimes amongst these roots and enjoy my break, and wonder where the days have gone and whether we will ever see such a glorious Spring again and why good old friends no longer write and most of all, how Cook Jenny can bake the most delicious fruit cake in the whole wide world!
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