Potager crops

Did you spot it? What was that green hulking thing in raised bed number five?

Sadly, it is a Necessary Evil.

I always knew that I would have to put up netting to keep out the cabbage moth butterfly from my kale plants. But I forgot that the little gendarmes could fly in.

Pyrrhocoris apterus if you must.

I have called them worse.

So first up was my nifty reinforced concrete rods as the uprights, stiff black hose as the hoop, and then the fine but hopefully durable black netting over the top.

Elegant, and discreet.

Alas, the netting it not fine enough to keep out the flying nasties. And believe me, they can suck the sap out of all your leaves of kale and reproduce at the same time.

So the shade cloth had to be cobbled together and turned into the appropriate cover. There was sewing. There was swearing when I realised I didn’t have quite enough of the more acceptable green to go around.

Fussy about our green colours? Well, yes.

We green fans are fussy. But I did feel rather pleased to read that this living room in London at the home of Frank Hollmeyer in Sunday’s Observer magazine had to have three goes at getting just the right colour. “Not too leafy, not too cooking apple.”

With ya sista. Here is my green (Citrine) painted desk here in my office. I had a passion for this yellowy green..

So you can imagine how cross I get when I order a green shade cloth online and they send something electric and neon.

I settled for this. And hope the finished potager and crops will distract you all from this eyesore.

I don’t fancy it. But I fancy shredded kale less.

And they are fine in the shade. Growing well. You can see some of the damage from the insects before I chased them out.

But let’s pan back from Bed Five and show you some of the rest of the potager in April. Things are going well.

We have had only 2mm of rain since early March, so I am watering. But what a joy to stand so close at hip height to the crops and actually see them while I work.

I’ve been able to space out some of the beetroot seedlings which are just emerging.

And rogue out unwanted self seeders.

I love coriander so much I’m permitting lots of little seedlings to grow. They should be destined for a nice neat row in Bed One. Eventually.

The raspberries which were wrenched out of the soil (so 2019) have been transplanted and are alive. I don’t suppose I’ll get a feed out of them until high summer. But it’s fascinating to actually see raspberries growing in an orderly fashion after the jungle for the past eight years.

The Swiss chard is growing pretty well – some of them will go to seed but I have plenty and they make marvellous twice cooked greens for my endless stir fry. (Long life tofu…. I can’t wait to get back to a shop that sells fresh…)

And pots and pots of dahlias sunk into the ground are putting on growth. They aren’t at the fetching and photogenic stage just yet.

And the Gertrude Jekyll roses I uprooted and placed against the fence…

Three are fine. One hates me.

Work in progress.