Cabbage cramming

How many hundreds of cabbage plants can you cram into a vegetable garden? I don’t dare count.

I didn’t strim today. Putting it off. Actually by the time I had gone to the village for the weekly market, bought groceries at the supermarket, chatted with the recycling man, queued at the boulangerie, gossiped with Nicolas and Manu, my goat’s cheese girlfriend, spent even longer at the butchers, and changed the gas bottle.   And driven back… well, it was only time for a cup of tea and a sneeze. Or ten. And then I just faded.

Summer has finally arrived. I think it was 24C today and steamy.   So 11am strimming was out of the question.   I opened all the windows in the potting shed, donned the kneelers and just weeded.

And planted. I’m trying to turf as many seedlings out of potting shed as I can. So that means cabbages galore. I’m squeezing them into the right quadrant.   But I suspect they might stray elsewhere.

I’m at that stage of trying to work out where to put the new things. I put the sweet potato plant with the potatoes (naturally), but the peppers went in both the bean quadrant and the potato patch.   More nasturtiums at the base of the central axis.   But the spinach had to go in among the parsnips and carrots.   I just don’t have room anywhere else.

Well I do. I have another vegetable bed of a similar size up at the top of the garden.   But I just never get it watered well enough to have plants that need careful attention.   I even forgot to go up and cut asparagus today. Must remember tomorrow. It’s one of those out of sight, out of mind things.

So the potager on show is just groaning with green.

I’m even taking a big risk with the nets.   The netting that is supposed to protect the peas from the deer attack is catching on the peas themselves.   And I find that if I lift up the net to get under to weed, I decapitate the pea shoots.

So I have left the net up and just hope the deer won’t come in for a tasty treat. The largest peas at the front are mangetou, and they are forming pods.

I eat endless coriander as I weed – and they are weeds here which is fantastic. It means I don’t have to sow each year.   It’s just a shame they have to come up in the most inconvenient places.

I was even avoiding stirmming by actually weeding the four paths in the potager.   I have a crop of plants in the bark chips: cosmos, euphorbias, sweet peas, coriander and even some precious pansies.

Right plants, wrong place. Up they came.   It’s a good thing I turned my compost heap yesterday, it’s almost full already with the latest batch of weeds.

One group of plants that are in the wrong country, in small boxes but proving to be just fine are the roses.   Who would have thought the Gertrude Jeykll roses would be so happy in these planters?  They are flowering like mad now, and I’m harvesting just as fast.

But there are plenty in vases as well.   The pefume is divine.

My harvest is a favourite confiture: Strawberry and rose petal jam.   I’ve made nine pots already, and hope to make another nine more tonight. Or mostly likely tomorrow. Hayfever is fatiguing.   And I’m flagging.