The last potting shed crops

I’m just inside from scissoring the slugs.

We have actual rain this week. 8mm one day, 2mm the next. And now it is so wet that I am not even going out to the rain gauge to peer in and check.

Instead I am drying my woolly hat and jacket in front of the fire and hoping my broccoli raab (cima di rapa) will grow faster than the slugs can eat them.

This is the one mistake I have made with my raised beds.

I mulched all of them with my usual thick wood chips in the autumn.

Save this last bed which I mulched with leaves.

And obviously slug eggs.

And most climates and sage people will insist the leaves will rot down into gorgeous leaf mould by now.

But the oak leaves didn’t. And I have the lovely environment for all sorts of things. I did cover the bed with some bought-in compost. It’s too late now to add fresh chippings. But that has only tucked everything up snugly and I feel cruel to be subjecting the plants to such an onslaught.

Luckily the bed just beside it, richly planted with lettuce, dill, radish and carrots, is spared.

And I just have to hope. Or else re-sow and start again.

But I always have this moment when I think, good, the potting shed seed sowing is done for the year.

All I have left is a handful of purple curly kale to move up. Nothing more to prick out or even fuss about.

Well, apart from the mini forest of amaranth. I only use these for flower arranging and I was a bit surprised they didn’t self seed in the beds. Curse the thick mulch. It works for most things, but not fragile amaranth.

Here is the state of the potting shed.

And don’t mind the Creature who insists on photo bombing the shots. She loves to be involved. Even if she gets miffed when yet another of her surfaces is taken up by a sea of tomatoes.

These are all the beefsteak tomatoes I insisted on sowing this year. I usually cheat and buy in grafted toms and get a head start.

I do have three.

But the rest are going to be from my own fair hands and we shall see whether I can get a crop before the end August. I doubt it.

That sort of cropping is for super hot days and super warm evenings and even poly tunnel life. Here up in the mountains (not as high as Christine’s altitude) we cool down at night and the dreamed of tomato thicket does not pump out as fast as I wish.

But for now they are having their hardening off week.

Sitting in front of the open window and huddling against the spitting rain.

The rest of the crops, not quite ready to see the great outdoors:

Courgettes, cucumbers, climbing beans, some zinnias, a few dozen kale, and of course my lovely peppers.

On the shaded side I have taken lots of rosemary cuttings of Miss Jessop’s Upright for my neighbour Flora.

And I’m trying some hornbeam cuttings only because I had to hack the hedge back to reach the path to the asparagus. And the very idea of cutting and just composting didn’t feel right.

Has anyone taken hornbeam cuttings and successfully raised plants? I wonder if it is as easy as the rosemary.