The difference a bit of sun makes

We’ve had a lovely week or so – 13-21C, some sunny days, mostly cloudy, but a bit of sunshine every day. It’s made such a difference to the plants, both in the growhouse and outside. The asparagus has come up – 3 stalks so far – and all seedlings have kicked into gear. Most are bursting from their pots and I’m spending my days potting up and potting out. Today I planted out spinach, kohlrabi, cauliflower, pak choi and broccoli in the third of our large no-dig beds, straight into fresh (well, old, but freshly picked up by us) manure.

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This is the patch we manured and planted today – and you can see two more beds full of vegetables behind.

The early crops have gone into overdrive, and we’re now harvesting lettuce, rocket, spinach and radishes almost every day. I think for once I got my staggered planting right: there’s new seedlings ready to take their place when these ones are done, and by only harvesting leaves rather than the whole plant we’re making sure that we’re able to eat fresh every day. The radishes were grown as clumps in the greenhouse, and whenever we pull up a big one the smaller ones grow into the vacated space. We’re also harvesting lettuce, rocket and spinach from inside the greenhouse – but the first of the outside spinach is ready, and the lettuce and rocket aren’t far behind.

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Apple blossom in front of our big pink ornamental cherry.

The fruit trees aren’t far behind. The regular fruiting cherries are on the way out, the plums are in full swing, the pink cherry popped out this week, and the apples have literally just come out. Everything is buzzing and happy, much earlier than usual – last year the pink cherry blossomed on 5th May, 10 days later than this year. Back in 2013, when we moved here, it was the 19th of May. I really hope that this isn’t it for the growing season – I’m hoping for a long, warm, summer (rather than a hot one), which would hopefully lead to a bumper apple harvest.

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Red Russian kale, overwintered garlic (or onions?), Kohlrabi.

I keep wandering round the three big beds and snacking on the brassica leaves, in particular on this sweet Red Russian kale. It has the most buttery taste and feels like it’s dissolving on your tongue – perfect for salads and stir fries, or for snacking on! I’ve got more seedlings coming up (Sutherland kale, too), but I’m not sure I’ve got the willpower to let these leaves grow big – they’re too delicious as they are.

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