losing the plot in April

It was always going to be a challenge – three kids and an allotment. Not to mention the vagaries of the Spring weather and the general, well, Italianess of Unhusband.

As usual for April, the only real success so far is the rhubarb, which is sprouting faster than I can in drench it in caster sugar. But I can’t take much credit for that; the more I ignore it, the better it grows.

As for everything else, it feels a bit like one of those dreams where you realise you’ve forgotten to revise for an exam.

In my haste to plant the salad before Newborn woke up, I can no longer tell my lollo rossa from my ‘cut and come again.’ And I have no idea if the dark green stuff is rocket or spinach. Oh well, it’ll all end up covered in oil and vinegar anyway.

 My first batch of peas died of frost bite, so I’ve made up for it with the second batch and encased them in individual greenhouses, in the form of glass jars. I had to rip the labels off first, so no-one would realise quite how much nutella we (err, I) get through.

The carrots, parsnips, beetroot and some kind of Italian onion (at the insistence of Unhusband) all went in a couple of weeks ago. I can’t be sure, but I think the only things coming up so far are marigolds. Bugger. I just hope J and D stampeding all over the soil hasn’t scuppered our chance of root vegetables this year. As usual, Mick’s carrots on the next plot are several leaves a piece already, precisely spaced at 5cm intervals.

Mine on the other hand, assuming they come up at all, are likely to have all the spacing credentials of The Piccadilly Line in rush hour. This is because A) my little ‘helpers’ have no concept of the term ‘sow sparingly’ and ignore my efforts to explain it. And B) I tend to err on the side of caution (and slugs) and chuck down more seed than is strictly necessary.

I’m determined to grow big, fat leeks this year.  Last year’s didn’t come up at all and the year before that’s were positively anorexic. I’m still waiting for this year’s seedlings to make an appearance. But as I can’t remember when I planted them, I’m not sure if they should have sprouted by now or not.  I’ve bought another packet of seeds just in case. If there’s still no show by the weekend, they’re going in. That could be a lot of ‘green soup.’ (Leek and potato.)

 At home, brassicas are growing on the barbecue (where else?  I take them off when we light it, of course) but it keeps them out of slugs’ reach and closer to the sun.  Meanwhile, courgettes, squash, sweetcorn, peppers, aubergines, tomatoes and cucumbers are coming up beautifully overtaking the kitchen. All I have to do now is find the time to take them to the allotment and then hope for the best.

Growing veg is a test of faith, hope and luck.  In April, I cling to the promise that tiny seeds, haphazardly sown by an impish three year old and a zealous six year old, will in a few weeks and months, be gracing our paint stained, play-doh splattered  table. Experience tells me we won’t starve this year either. Though when it comes to the leeks, I’m not taking any chances.


About Becky Dickinson

Mum of three. Writer, blogger, grower. Trying to keep my head above the compost heap.

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  1. Oh just look at that cute little face amongst the pots – so good to see!

    I have put a tomato plant outside and that’s as far as my gardening has gone so far this year – I must pull my socks up!

  2. yes, but you are far more productive on the blogging front! I must pull my socks up there …… hope your tomato survives, I’m worried it’s still too cold outdoors?

  3. I love the use of the BBQ (slugs have destroyed my courgette leaves and started on my sunflowers as well in the greenhouse) will have to try something like that with ours.

    Our Rhubarb is so close to picking I can’t wait to make some it’s the first year with some crowns from my parents garden so not holding out hope for the best crop but should be ok.

    Thanks to Mammasaurus I’m discovering some great blogs today

    • Argh – slugs, they are horrible little *****s . I’ve another post on how to deal with those if you want some ideas. Good luck with the rhubarb – hopefully you’ll soon have more than you can handle.

  4. Where I live in Minnesota (US), we are having the same problem with frost bite. I made the mistake of putting my rosemary outside too soon, and yup you guessed it’s gone. At least I started my indoor kitchen herb garden ,and they are flourishing!

  5. I’m so glad to hear it’s not just our house where the veg takes over the house – what I would do for a big greenhouse to put it all in. Our bedroom windowsill has various veg and stuff growing on it pretty much all season. As for the slugs and snails – gahrrrrrr…..

  6. Tigger's Mum says:

    Slugs? – we put a tall post in the back yard with shelf brackets sticking out all round (and at several heights) like a weird sign post – and then hang baskets of things we want out of reach of the slugs from the brackets. Works wonders for the strawberries and is referred to at home as the strawberry tree.

    This year we’re strulch-ing (http://www.strulch.co.uk) round the plants as they go into the allotment and it seems to be living up to its claims of detering the slimey little beasts. Quite expensive so we only use a handful round each plant but still seems to be working ….

    Tigger’s Mum.

    • Your strawberry tree sounds lovely and I’ll look into strulch. I’m already regretting not trying nematodes this year.

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