Thursday, 9 April 2009

Broad beans, onions and chard

I sowed the first of the broad beans just a few weeks ago and already they are coming up. I was worried that the intervening frosts would upset them but I shouldn't have been so concerned! I have now sown two more rows - I really do love broad beans straight from the garden. The rest of the family think they aren't worth the effort - all those pods to remove - but it doesn't stop them eating them in great quantities!

Broad bean seedlings

Onions, garlic and shallots are also coming along nicely. The garlic and half the shallots went in during the autumn then I put in two more beds of shallots and onions in the early spring. All are doing well. Last year I didn't really have enough so this year I have tripled the quantity!

Garlic and shallots

To my delight the chard has overwintered with very little help from a plastic tunnel and is now in great leaf. Given the three weeks of sub zero temperatures at the beginning of the year, I wasn't really expecting it to survive. However, over Easter we will be eating one of our favourite chard recipes: ricotta and chard filo parcels. It's a great standby for vegetarians too.

Chard - it looks a bit pathetic in the photo but it's doing well!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

First crop is in the kitchen

Every year my mother-in-law comes to stay in late May for a week or two. The advantages of May are great - especially for an octogenarian who cannot see. The weather is warmer (believe me, in our house that matters!), the frogs are singing, the flowers are beginning to smell and we can often eat lunch outside. Unfortunately, though, late May misses the asparagus and this always upsets her, especially as it is the way with asparagus that there is always plenty more after the six week picking period but you have to leave it to feed the plant!

So perhaps the asparagus is the real reason she has come to stay for Easter! Yesterday I picked the third bunch of the year and we all enjoyed it at lunch. There is nothing like freshly picked asparagus: for us it's usually the first crop from the garden so it heralds the beginning of the vegetable patch year; when we are kind enough (sic!) to share it our friends are always amazed that we grow it thus giving us a feeling of both brilliance and largesse - although we don't often share it so the largesse is false; and actually it's not difficult to grow so the brilliance isn't exactly genuine either...oh well!

It won't be long before we start eating the lettuce from the greenhouse - oh I do love spring!