Thursday, April 23, 2009

Yup! Spring Has Sprung

Not a sign of a snow flake. He typed, crossing his fingers. Metaphorically, as it were.
Some things in the garden are raring to go, others are already on their way.

In the mini-greenhouse, the tomatoes, hot chillies, sweet chillies, lettuces, capsicums, egg plant and some spring onions are raring:
Not to mention more spring onions, brown onions, zucchini, cucumber, Kent pumpkin, watermelon and Italian parsley:
We're getting mid-teen temperatures most days but it's still single figures overnight, so most of these have another couple of weeks before they hit the ground.

Elsewhere, the precocious cherry tree, in its third season in the ground, in its second fruiting season, looks to have at least twice the crop it had last season:
And the Italian version of silver beet, over-wintered under a couple of layers of fleece, is repaying the patience:
Even the rocket is getting a shuffle on:
Rocket is very much an early spring crop around here, particularly in this garden. There are next to no shady spots in the garden, and a crop will bolt like a flash as soon as things heat up.

The first stringless French climbing beans went in early:
And possibly a couple of weeks early. They were started in the mini-greenhouse, flourished, and two or three consecutive days of high teens temperatures seduced me into planting them out. Of course, things immediately turned chilly and damp. But they're battling along.

Now, L'Artista is altogether fond of steamed baby new potatoes. Trouble is, Italy doesn't really do potatoes in terms of a wide variety of same. Look for seed potatoes here and you have a choice of white, yellow or red, all maincrop. Our very kind English neighbours - they have a holiday apartment at the top of our building - offered to help out. Last time they came, they brought a handful of one of the nicest new earlies, Arran Pilot, and, on the basis that I have limited growing space, half of them went into a tub of compost:
They've already developed since this photo. In fact, they had their first hilling the other day. The other half went into the ground. L'Artista will have no complaints this potato season.

Elsewhere, the carrots - Amsterdam Forcing, a wonderful early, sweet variety - are poking their feathery tops out of the ground:
And the radishes are doing their version of the same:
And last but not least, for this post anyway, the rhubarb is getting a rattle on:
Last year, I planted three seedlings started by a friend. Rhubarb grown from seed can be a dicey proposition at the best of times. Two didn't make it through the icy winter. This one did. The two fatalities hit the compost heap. L'Artista saved this one from a similar fate - as fond as I am of rhubarb, it takes up so much space in a small garden - and I transplanted it into a pot full of compost on the terrace. And it's booming. It can thank L'Artista.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Spring One Day, Winter The Next

Why are blogs like mouths? Because you open them and end up sounding like a proper dill.

Last time I mused that spring was springing. Finally. I had started my onion seeds, followed rapidly by the tomatoes, capsicum, chillies, various lettuces - in fact, the whole gamut.

About ten days later - which is to say, only a couple of weeks ago - this is what we woke to:
That's not a photo taken through a dirty window. Nor has a cotton-stuffed cushion been disembowelled and tossed in the air.

It's snow. That's right. S.N.O.W.

The seeds that had germinated were already basking in their little greenhouse warmed by the spring sunshine.

Well, they were, until they discovered they were looking out on snow:
I'd also uncovered the strawberries from their winter cocoon of a triple layer of garden fleece:
That's them just visible on the right. They coped. Remarkable plants, strawbs. Now they're flowering.

Tomorrow, 19C is forecast. The day after? The garden shudders to think.