Speaking of garden paths....
Aren't you glad I brought up the subject?
It's Garden Thursday! Hurray! Or, as everyone else seems to write: Huzzah. What's with that? Do you actually pronounce it Huh-zaaah? If you do, why? I am desperate for elucidation, truly.
Look! It's fennel! Not Florence Fennel, but Frond Fennel (ie: the kind without the big fat crunchy-juicy white bulb at the bottom). Isn't that the greenest green you've seen today? Fennel fronds always remind me of our Former Pig From Guinea because he loved this stuff. Well, he loved it until we fed it to him so much he got kind of bored of it. But until then he really loved it. (gosh, writing that makes me wonder now if he was just humouring me about loving it)
Okay, let's get on with the garden. Right now I am going to show you a few Befores and Afters. The time elapse is 4 days. Some things were in a cold frame and others were in a greenhouse. Oh, and one example was doctored through our explorations with those people from the Soil Food Web. The results, as they say, have to be seen to be believed.
First, some carrots. Now, if you grow carrots all the time and have no troubles with them, I don't want to hear about it. In fact, I am kind of gritting my teeth right now imagining everyone but me growing successful carrots. Because, as you may have intuited, I am an Unsuccessful Carrot Grower. Carrots are my bête-noire (or should that be my bête-orange?). They either grow in really perverted ways that I can't show my children, or they don't grow past one inch and look pathetic.
Why am I growing them again, you ask? Um, because I am an idiot. Well, that and the fact that I am FDPG's stooge, and she wants to grow carrots.
Anyhow, here are those very same carrots 4 days later! Now if that isn't an eager carrot I don't know what is (again, refrain from tormenting me with your own success stories or I might cry). Ignore that new pot in the mix. It isn't something that magically grew in the intervening 4 days - it's a plant I rescued from my Bishops Weed Frenzy and can't seem to keep watered properly, so I put it with my bête-oranges and figure they will either boss it into submission or convince it to play Survivor with them (outwit us, outlast us, outplay us, they taunt, and the little plant meekly obeys).
Next up: lettuce. You can see from the red tape on the greenhouse wall and the little popsicle stick with FDPG's neat little printing saying buttercrunch IN EACH PICTURE that it is indeed the very same six-pack, too (just in case you are so bowled over with shock and awe you start to distrust me).
Picture number two. Four days later. The difference a little heat in a greenhouse can make. And no, I am not shilling for a company that sells big double glazed hard-sided 14' by 18' greenhouses with gables and pop up roof windows. But if you know of any that need a Truly Madly Deeply Shiller in exchange for a greenhouse (with the aforementioned virtues), give them my number, would you?
This isn't a true Before and After, more an Imagine These Turning Into....
This. After which you will eat the resulting vegetables with lots of grated romano cheese and hot pesto.
If you like artichokes, that is. And please, let's all just ignore Richard the Wit and his incessant gleeful fartichokes whispers while we gaze lovingly at these pictures, okay? I happen to adore
Here is our last Before and After, except these are more a With and Without, I suppose.
This is a packet of peas planted in the ground. In good ground, with some kelp meal and a little sprinkling of compost tea.
Psst! Samantha - these are your peas! They're waving their little fronds at you!
This is another packet of peas planted in the ground. In good ground, with some kelp meal and a little sprinkling of compost tea and an overnight soak in some mycorrhizal inoculant. I think the results (Sheila twirls her moustaches smugly) speak for themselves, don't you?
Psst! Samantha - these are your peas too! Waving their little fronds as well - a little more heartily, methinks.
Finally, to round out that little Show and Tell, some random photos from the garden.
Strawberry blossoms. I was going to sell my zillions of strawberry babies on Craig's list but the kids are horrified by the idea that I am WILLINGLY getting rid of potential strawberries. Willingly! I might have to set up a Strawberry Stand and sell them in the middle of the night. Secretly.
This is Purple Sprouting Broccoli. Sprouting little purple broccolis. (truth in advertising - who would have thought?)
The leaves are amazing fried then steamed in garlic and chicken stock. We all love them, well, except for FDPG, who hates everything that doesn't contain either chocolate or macaroni.
Guess what these are.
Oh give up, you know you'll never guess.
I do not lie.
I am following the advice of Tim and Joe from Gardening With Tim and Joe on the BBC (Radio Leeds), although strictly speaking it was Joe who gave this advice...
"Place some well rotted compust on yer tatties, chook them in a coople uv six packs and poot thum in yer greenhouse er cold frem fer a wee whiley until they've sprouted a wee bit, then plant thim, and yull have tatties in time fer Easter dinner."
Yeah, yeah, I'm a little late on this Easter dinner business and I'm not using well rotted compust and they aren't sprouted or in the ground as yet nor are they even in six packs but I seem to be getting vaguely similar results. These are Yukon Gold potatoes. I wonder what Joe thinks of Yukon Gold potatoes?
And finally, if you have read any of my gardening columns you'll know of my travails with that thing known as Pear Rust and how it caused me Intense Jane Austen Heroine Anguish last summer when my little pear tree (upon which I have every intention of placing a partridge come Christmas time) came out all spotted. Well, cast your eyes upon that fat red bud on that branch there! My eyes might be deceiving me but I think I see the beginnings of a Louisebonne pear. This has never ever happened before. Does this mean that my travails with rust might, just might, be a thing of the past?
(Sheila faints dead away like the woman in the Edward Gorey Masterpiece Theatre montage).
There you go. Happy gardening. From Sheila here at Radio Greenridge.