Today's sunday lunch! Peas, courgettes and spinach with edible flowers borage, marigolds and nasturtiums.
Tunnel this evening. So far in flower are sweet williams, shizanthus, marigolds and cosmos. A few cornflowers and sweet peas are just starting too...I've been harvesting courgettes, peas, beetroot leaves, salad, coriander, potatoes broad beans and radish so far this season.
Shots of Shizanthus 'Dr Badger' which is flowering beautifully in the tunnel. These seeds were easy to germinate in early spring and are the some of the first plants to flower in my garden. They seem to last almost a week in a vase and have numerous flowers per stem. Now I've discovered them, they'll become a firm favourite. In the middle picture above, Orach grows alongside spinach.
Thyme in flower in beds outside tunnel. Once flowered I will trim this back to promote new growth. This is a drought loving plant and does well in its current position as the bed tends to dry out quickly.
'Early Rose' potatoes just out of the ground. I have now cleared this potoato bed and am storing the spuds in a sack in the garage. I really needed the room for more summer plantings of beetroot and fennel. Potatoes need to be stored somewhere cool, otherwise they fester and you'll find yourself pulling out blighty tubers which are mushy and stink and the whole experience is generally unpleasant!
Red Flowered Broad Beans. I was lucky enough to be able to take some of the Heligan saved seed home with me this year and the plants are looking really healthy. Judging by the amount of flowers, I'd say it was going to be a fairly prolific cropper. Plants are slightly shorter than other varieties, reaching about 3 feet tall. I sowed these seeds on March 16th, in order that they follow on from the autumn sown Aquadulce Claudia.
First 'Aquadule Claudia' broad beans with Mizuna. This photo was taken a about a month ago now in early May. They were overwintered in the tunnel, giving us an early crop. In fact, I tasted my first bean on 23rd April which is definitely pretty early! I think it's a bit too warm for them really, as they have become rather leggy, but this doesn't seem to have halted their productivity or flavour.
Shizanthus 'Dr Badger' is one of my first annuals to flower this year. It has delicate pink, purple and white flowers with a specked yellow centre. Seeds were quick to germinate in late March and plants should flower for 3 months. They have a vase life of about 7 days. I picked my first little posy of the year last night, with the very first cosmos stem, shizanthus, marigolds, cow parsley and mizuna flowers.
Forget-me-nots. These plants prefer shade so we have planted them alongside the cottage. They should hopefully self-set and form a border of blue in late spring next year.
Polytunnel pond very early one morning. The tadpoles have been hiding away at the bottom of the pond in all this hot weather. It gets so warm in the tunnel that I do worry about them a bit. I top the water level up regularly, and as soon as I remove the hose they all come swimming to the surface and wriggle around. They look pretty lively so I reckon they're alright...
Feltham First and Sugarsnap peas are climbing high and starting to flower. Today is the first day we've had rain in weeks, here in Cornwall. I have resisted from watering any of my outside beds, taking a leaf out of Heligan's book where we don't water unless in extremely dry conditions. The idea is that if the soil is very well cultivated, plants learn to look after themselves and the more you water and interfere with them, the more they rely on that water source. It's hard to ignore plants when the ground seems so parched, but if left to their own devices they generally become stronger and you have to water less. Obviously if something is looking like it's about to die, this theory isn't working and you need to give if a drink -I don't want to be responsible for people killing off their plants! It's very dependent on each garden and soil structure, but it's worth observing how plants are coping and not simply watering for the sake of it.
Red Orach growing alongside Aquadulce Claudia Broad Beans and Mizuna. This plant is as tall as me now (5'10) and still growing! It makes an attractive contrast to the green vegetables, and young leaves can be used in salads. I have also read that larger leaves can be used as a spinach substitute and seen a recipe for Orach soup, although I've never tried these. It is easy to grow and self-sets everywhere if you're not careful!
The first Nasturtiums are coming into flower alongside Sage. Both flowers and leaves of nasturtiums can be used in salads and have a peppery flavour. They are also known as 'Poor Man's Capers' as buds can be picked and pickled in vinegar. They are easy to grow and will climb up wigwams creating srtiking colour in the garden. Once introduced, they tend to self-set year on year and are good companion plants for attracting pests such as blackfly away from broad beans.