by Max Akroyd
A very pleasant combination of warm sun and steady, cool breeze for the last fortnight has tuned the top layers of our soil into a fragile dust. (I did think I’d heard approaching rain at one point this morning – but it turned out to be the sound of my sinuses draining).
There’s a limit to how much watering can be done by hand – enough to keep the seedlings going really – and sowing anything new into the open soil would be pointless until the rain returns.
In these circumstances the plastic mulch is coming into its own. It allowed me to plant another dozen cauliflowers this morning through the fabric and into the ‘just right ‘soil below. I’ve no evidence that this method will work at all in the long run, but the early indications taken from the Portuguese kales I planted out in February are quite encouraging:
The mulches also allow me to get a proper start in the Perennial Beds. Although neglected by most, perennial vegetables are a mainstream concern for anyone interested in self-sufficiency. April is a big month sowing-wise in this department, and I sowed lots of seakale seeds this morning to join the good king henry and sorrel sown previously. Unfortunately, my Turkish rocket and patience dock seed seems to have mislaid its viability – a reflection of how different my concerns are to the majority of other folk!
I’d bought in six new rhubarb crowns and got these in the ground today, together with some bunches of welsh onions sown last October. The perennials-used-as-annuals, Witloof chicory and runner beans, get sown next month and will give this area of the garden a reassuring feeling of completeness.