Lettuces and the like (403)
by Max Akroyd
The sound of rain on the roof in the small hours of the morning was such a surprise even the dogs started barking. The forecast is for sunny business as usual next week, so it was all systems go for planting out this morning.
Early starts, so transplants beat the heat, are now de rigeur. I’ve already planted out an assortment of 86 lettuces, endives, chicories and celtuce today. The harvest of salad leaves from the polytunnel, which has formed the cornerstone of our dinners (you may know this meal as lunch) for the last six weeks, has now largely gone to seed. Still edible, but less enticing.
The need to dovetail the end of the under-cover crop with the first lettuces from the field means I should have sown the latter two weeks earlier. Somehow, I will try and remember this next year. If I also get winter lettuces and the like sown in the polytunnel in October, and get the witloof chicory roots going next month, I might have sorted ‘lunches’ for the winter. Which is a good thing.
The tough guys, Itallian lettuces, leaf chicories and endives, were planted in a long, slightly windy row between the parsnips. This catch crop will benefit from the daily watering that I appear to committed to for their neighbours.
Untypically, the animals are causing a lot less bother than the vegetables at present. The mummy pigs – I should really start calling them my breeding sows – have been quietly getting on with things on a big scale. It’s a strange experience to visit their field and discover they’ve almost finished digging me a large allotment.
Big pig was keen to show you her relatively paltry efforts. That’s breeding for you. Hopefully the piglets – daughters of the mummy pigs and now confident enough to be in the field all day every day – will show her how it’s done…
Back to the vegetable grindstone for me this afternoon though. Another forty brassicas to plant out, through plastic and into the cool, damp soil beneath…