This year, I’m trying to grow much more than I did last year, and if I can, I’d like to have spare stuff for my friends. It’s for this reason that I’m going hell-for-leather with the planting.
So what’s up and what’s not?
My Musselburgh leeks are like tiny blades of grass already.
The chilli peppers were a little hard to get going, and I’ve got two that have baby leaves.
My aubergines are starting to appear, after a hell of a long time in the propagator.
The kale I planted last week is beginning to sprout.
I’ve got a couple of different types of cauliflower ready to go.
I’ve now got my fourth lot of tomatoes on the go.
So far, I’ve got some Alicante tomatoes that are now coming into their grown-up leaves. These are the salad tomatoes that Tilly likes so much. Tilly, the American cocker, loves a tomato and is quite often to be found foraging for them in late August and September. It is also your perfect fried tomato, keeping its shape perfectly.
I’ve also got some Gardener’s Delight tomatoes which went in the propagator on Saturday and came out today – already with leaves. These are the straightforward cherry tomatoes. I grew sungold a couple of years ago, but I can’t say that they were far superior in taste, so I’m sticking with simple.
Then there’s the cooking tomatoes. I’ve planted a dozen or so seeds of Roma plum tomatoes, and if any, these are the ones that I want the most. They’re the ones that you use in sauces and with pasta, on pizza and in ketchup. I’m hoping to have about fifty this year.
I’m also growing Super Marmande this year for the first time – beefsteak tomatoes. Is there anything as gorgeous as a sliced beefsteak tomato with balsamic dressing, basil leaves and sliced mozzarella? If there is, I don’t know what.
I’m just going to keep those tomatoes going in until I run out of space. Not unlike Tilly, I could eat tomatoes at every meal.
This year, they get to go in the big patch – the only place they haven’t been yet. Funny to think that I’ve rotated through all my beds already! I’ve also begun to keep an eye out for nettle patches, since I usually make my own nettle tea to feed them with, even though it stinks to high heaven. Next week, I’m going to cultivate the patch – it’s not been turned over this year – hopefully, I should have five or six rows of different tomatoes. I’m also planning on a couple of rows of peppers and aubergines in with them.
My bean patch is also ready – I’ve got a couple of rows of beans and peas in already and more to go.
The potato patch just needs turning over – but it will be a month before I’ll put my seed potatoes in.
The two patches most in need of work are the two on either side of the polytunnel. I’m not using the polytunnel this year other than for storage as the soil is utterly exhausted and it’s a losing battle with the rampant convolvulus. I’ve put a layer of weed suppressing newspaper down and I’ll leave it and water it regularly before restocking it with better soil on top of the newspaper so that I can use it again next year once all the convolvulus is dead. The two patches either side will be home to the brassicas and any odds-and-sods. I’ve still got my herb planter to get built, though I guess that will be a job for easter.
So what gets planted today?
Lettuce. Lettuce and more lettuce!