At The Farm we have been working hard to reclaim the vegetable garden. To save you the trauma of our agonies over the last few months I will précis what we have achieved. There are now two distinct planting areas. These are rectangles of improved soil that have been released from the suffocating carpet lain many years ago and now covered in several centimetres of turf. The lower bed has been planted with potatoes; Foremost, Wilja, Red Duke of York and Blue Danube. Courgettes will join them later. The upper bed will be for peas, both sweet and edible, and all manner of beans and which will be supported by a trio of alternative wigwams created by Young Master George, one willow, one twisted ash, one sycamore. Both beds are encircled by recycled paving slabs, bedded in by Slasher.
Slasher also constructed a raised bed, on a piece of uneven ground adjacent to the greenhouse. We filled it with upturned turf, relocated topsoil and added a few bags of compost for good measure. It is to be used for salad crops and its height means it can be more easily protected from Those Who Wish Us To Fail. The members of this non exclusive club include, but are not confined to, badgers, rabbits and of course those pesky chickens. It has been succession sown with beetroot, spring onions, cut-and-come-again lettuce, carrots and of course radishes. Continuing with the recycling theme, we found abandoned in the bushes lengths of what I think is reinforcing steel. This was cut to length and used as an open cloche for further protection. But wait a moment, what is that top right, poking up between the ruler lines of emerging seedlings?
Rhubarb, that is what it is! Foolishly (in retrospect) we built the raised bed on top of the scrappiest, saddest, specimen of rhubarb you have ever seen. Its pathetic performance last year didn’t warrant even a single harvest. This weakling was so obviously a spent force, doomed and definitely not a threat to straight lines. Now it is vigorous, indomitable, chaotic. We are all doomed. I have cut it twice and still it continues its upward momentum. Shows just how much I know. Again.