Wednesday, 6 April 2011


The first hint of flowers appearing on my oldest broad beans

March was mild and dry. Round here, the past week has been much more changeable - some strong winds (doing more damage to the greenhouse), plenty of rain, and temperatures up and down. Today it's settled down again, and for the next few days, it's set fair - perfect for what I have planned.

The amount of growth outside and in is incredible. The earth, which even in mid-March was barren, covered in dry and dead grass and small shoots, is now clothed in green. Mostly it's unwelcome - bluebells, couch grass, pilewort (lesser Celandine), dandelions - but my plants, the leaves, roots, fruits and flowers, are thriving too. Grape vine buds are breaking, trees are covered in blossom (my own fan cherry opened its first blooms today), the shallots in the back garden have put on up to six inches of growth already.

Indoors, things are just as manic. The vestibule (a small, partially glazed room between the front door and the hall) is brimming with plants - and I fancy the atmosphere in there is richer and more invigorating than before (more oxygen? Highly unlikely). By the weekend, I need to have found room in the garden for nearly a dozen broad bean plants, half a dozen cardboard tubes of peas, another 25 shallots or so, and whatever else I can rush out to make more room inside. Tomatoes now number over 240 - with all fifteen varieties growing fast. The first melons and sunflowers sprouted today, joining chillies, numerous castor beans, and Delphiniums. Bananas and Nicotiana are still no-shows - I may try again with the latter, as I really want some in my garden this year.

It's suddenly possible to imagine how the garden will be another couple of months down the line - rich, green, fecund. I should be picking my first beans and peas, leaves, turnips, and maybe carrots by then - and seeing the first small, green tomatoes swelling under cover.

And I made my first significant harvest of the year - but more on that in a few days.

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