Jennifer’s Garden Diary (16th March 2011)

Week ending 16th March 2011

A lot has happened in the garden since last I wrote, we have had a good spell of dry weather and I have sown early peas, carrots (ever hopeful I can succeed with them) parsnips and leeks outside; and in trays, Brussels sprouts and lettuces. The latter are looking well and yesterday red cabbage and a heritage variety of cabbage called Southampton Wonder have come up in trays in a heated propagator. Today I also finished putting in my small patch of early potatoes, Sharpe’s Express and Kestrel. Just in time for St Patrick’s day! I shall try and get a few more seed tomorrow to fill the patch, probably Kerr’s Pinks. I have been told Kerr’s pinks are tasteless but I find them good if eaten soon after digging. I am a bit worried by the sharp frosts at night, I hope the seeds in the ground are resilient and the potatoes safe in the earth. This time of year I am full of hope for good harvests even though in my old age I have to ration gardening to an hour. It is hard to stop when there is so much I would love to be doing.  However from last year’s work I am eating absolutely delicious white sprouting broccoli and the purple variety is nearly ready, I have had two good pickings of lovely smooth fat stalks of rhubarb. I stewed some and made a crumble both very well received by my visiting family.

Last year I had a grey crow’s nest in the big tree by my gateway and this year there is a magpie’s nest in a cherry tree near the house. Neither are very welcome as they eat other baby birds, but I can’t help admiring how they can make a secure nest of sticks with their beaks and claws, I am sure I could not do so with two hands!

I am collecting empty milk cartons in which I will sow tender fast growing things like runner beans and courgettes. That won’t be until I come back from Scotland where I am going next week to visit my sisters. This is not a good time to be away from a garden, but it will be exciting to see how things have grown on my return.