Spring Equinox

It’s the first day of spring – Happy Ostara! Today’s grey skies and pouring rain transformed into gorgeous sunshine and blue skies mid-afternoon and the forecast for tomorrow is lovely. Birds are busy, bees foraging on early flowers, everything is growing so fast!

It’s been a busy late winter. Charles and I have finished the final edit of our book, No Dig Organic Home and Garden, which has a publication date of April 10th and can be pre-ordered (and signed by us both, with a message should you wish) here. I was trying to think of a photo which summed up the editing process for me, many hours at my desk working on my computer; a cup of tea and my computer glasses, with lenses specifically for computer use. Not very attractive but lightweight and reducing the glare from the screen, they have been invaluable now that I need to wear specs to read.

 

My in box has been buzzing with many requests for talks and workshops, including some for 2019, which does feel strange! Coming up I have talks to gardening clubs, WI’s etc, and public ones including the South Downs Green Fair on May 7th and the Spring Fair at River Cottage on 29th May.

Spring is definitely in the air in my garden. Lots of flowers ….

 

and an abundance of rhubarb. This is Timperley Early, loving the mulch of homemade compost I gave it a month or so ago. The compost was made in a ‘dalek’ composter situated next to the rhubarb, so when I wanted to use it I just had to lift up the dalek and spread the lovely mulch.

This rhubarb is incredibly abundant and keeps producing for months.

And the perennial Taunton Dean kale is once again prolific. I planted these last spring.

The cardboard is a mulch over my old strawberry bed, to kill off (I hope) the Enchanter’s Nightshade that mysteriously appeared there. This has been down for a year – I decided to have a 2 year mulch as it is an especially determined perennial weed, so grow edibles in pots on top of the cardboard during the main growing season. The colour is so vibrant.

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Every day there is something new to see – here a clematis is producing new shoots and flower buds. Unfortunately I noticed today that some bindweed is making an appearance in the front garden… I’ll trowel that out tomorrow before it has too much of a chance to get established.

I’ve been doing a lot of spring mulching in my front garden and at Roth Bar and Grill, where my work was observed by several pairs of nesting sparrows in the wall. At home, compost from Charles mulched some of the front garden beds. The plan is to top up the three raised beds with well rotted manure, brought home in sacks from my allotment.

(These are on top of very poor soil, full of builder’s rubble from the 1970s, so the only way i could grow food here).

Yesterday Charles and I attended the Glastonbury Seedy Sunday, to give talks and we also had a stall. It was great fun, there were so many interesting things to do in this amazing community space. Charles’ talk was so packed it was standing room only!

Our gardening courses at Homeacres are in full swing after the winter break: here are some of the dishes I make for the course lunches. I love the colours – all plant based, using homegrown, seasonal or home preserved veggies, herbs and fruit.

 

Outside,  I’m harvesting sprouts, kales, purple and white sprouting broccoli, flower sprouts (kalettes), leeks, parsnips, chard, spring onions, rhubarb and herbs including thyme, rosemary, oregano and chives. In the polytunnel, there’s salad, orientals for stirfries, spinach, calabrese, dill, coriander and more to harvest now and garlic, elephant garlic, radish, overwintered carrots and spring cabbage growing well for the next few months.

Now is a big time for sowing – here are some of my seedlings.

I start most of them off in the greenhouse. See my blog No Dig Home for regular updates of my garden, growing and for recipes for food and potions!