Friday, December 26, 2014

embarrassing gardens

The world could be divided between those who are fascinated by Embarrassing Bodies and those who aren't.  My limited research sides with the principle that opposites attract and I suggest that people who watch it, watch it alone because their partner can't stand it and has sloped off to bed.

An embarrassing garden doesn't have to have the horticultural equivalent of awkward genitalia problems or boob-jobs gone wrong. It's just that part of the garden that has had  no attention and it tells the world so, should the world happen to see it. 
On the very bright side, putting the photos above and below together and going to the last chapter of the story, a neglected raspberry patch, up to its ears in long grass and seeding docks, still yields delicious fruit. A late season this year had us begin picking soft fruits on Christmas day; none too late at all.
When you grow them, and pick every other day, there is a moment when it seems the supply will never end.
And the measure is quite different from buying a few punnets which have to be measured out or counted say.
You just eat them up, or make jam.
Sometimes you just eat them in the garden straight off the plant.

The seeding docks are part of my 30 minute gardening story, courtesy of current public library holiday reading. (No Time to Garden by Anne Swithinbank). 
I have identified a number of tasks to set the timer for and hack away at. Otherwise at this time of year my gardening can become dissipated by the number of things to do exceeding the time available to do them and I seem to stab at things aimlessly. 
I'm going to put the dock tops in a black plastic bag with the thistles and leave it all to rot down for a year in a neglected corner. 

I never did identify this plant above but what a winner. I wonder if it is broccollini or something like it. I thought it was kale and we began eating the leaves which were delicious at first...and then these sprouts with very long stems kept growing so I kept picking. 
Many weeks later I have picked the last of them, I just chop the whole bundle across into  roughly 5-6 cm lengths, steam them, butter, salt, pepper. 

I also dug the first of the new potatoes on Christmas Day and mercifully there was a crop beneath. You are never quite sure. 
We visited friends one sunny afternoon before Christmas and the in-laws, also keen gardeners, had arrived down for Christmas.
I hope our potatoes have come through, said daughter. "We'll dig them on Christmas Day."
"You should have told me you needed potatoes" said Mother, "we've been eating ours for three weeks now."
"It's alright, we've got broad beans just beginning, we won't go without." (daughter)
"Ours are finished" said Mother " they were wonderful."
Son-in law realises they are losing in the vegetable game. "We've got lettuce up to here" he says, indicating the height of the table.
Father-in-law parried immediately, "We didn't grow dwarf lettuce this year."

Oops I have digressed, the point was compost, gypsum, a sprinkle of powdered aged sheep manure, and in go the red cabbage following on from the potatoes. 
I really do have  kale this time waiting in the wings for the next lot of potatoes to be dug.  The ground is very dry.

I have got behind and my next task is to plant seeds now for Autumn, Winter and Spring to whom I have each awarded a capital letter to honour their distinctive and lovely personalities.
I will have another go at carrots, which aren't looking good at all, beetroot (neither are they and I may be too late) and iceberg lettuce because I have a tunnel house and I am tired of all these softie lettuces I have been growing. 
Plus brassiness of course, no I mean brassicas, the auto correct is telling me what to do. Must be time to bring those potatoes in and pack them into the chilly bin...


  1. Now that broccollini thing could fit right in to a glossy food magazine, it looks extremely fashionable, as do the raspberries next to that tart you've made from your forgotten cocao tree in the long docks.
    I'm thinking that the 30 min approach you mentioned might be adaptable to fit my summer of jobs around the house, touching up paintwork etc. Another good saying, "done is good enough".

    1. looking forward to seeing you all soon . Weather has been amazing. Bring your summer clothes. love miri