It feels like a long time since I was last able to write about the Kitchen Garden and I am very excited to see that the fruit and vegetable season is beginning to take off. The warm spring meant an abundance of blossom and bees in the Kitchen Garden and I am now on the verge of beginning to harvest my biggest fruit crop yet from my relatively newly established plot.
Today I would like to welcome you in for a stroll around to see how things are progressing:
The lavender is growing well underneath the espaliered fruit trees and the first roses are just starting to flower. The pink that you can see is Gertrude Jekyll.
I love the anticipation at this time of year – whilst there is still bare soil to be filled with summer vegetables and cutting flowers, there is also so much that is just about ready to ripen!
These are the broad beans that I planted last November. It is not even the end of May and they are almost ready to eat! I kept them covered with a fleece tunnel throughout the winter and had nearly a 100% survival rate.
The garlic that was planted in December should be ready to harvest by the end of June. The potatoes were planted in March and are looking promising – I am hoping for a good crop of small new potatoes to eat with the fresh peas and broad beans throughout June.
The strawberries are growing well under their bird protection – I was able to sneak my first warm ripe berry whilst walking around taking these photos.
I am looking forward to harvesting my first gooseberries any day now. I have plans for gooseberry and elderflower fool, a muscatel cordial (made with gooseberries and elderflower) and, of course, gooseberry crumble.
I need to get some nets over these lovely redcurrants before the birds find them. Intensely flavoured red currant jelly is one of my favourite store cupboard makes.
I have been waiting for my peony beds to mature for what feels like a very long time. This year is the first time that these recently planted peonies have grown large enough to need supporting. The bed is now dotted with hazel posts and string run between the posts in a diamond pattern to give the stems something to lean against.
I have so many buds this year that I am optimistic about having a good crop – however todays heavy rain is bad news for the buds that are just opening. It is so frustrating that the peony and delphinium season always seems to coincide with heavy summer storms!
Also in the garden are raspberries and blackberries and lots of these promising looking pears:
I have sown crops of carrots, spinach and beetroot and in the greenhouse courgettes, squash and sweetcorn are waiting to be planted out. My first sweet pea flowered in the greenhouse yesterday and my garden crop is growing well, although I do not expect any flowers for a few weeks yet. The asparagus has been prolific this season and I can barely keep up with the rhubarb.
All in all it has been a great start to the 2014 season – it is hard to believe that it is already time to start planning to sow biennials and the first of the winter vegetable crops!