The above gangly specimens are my peas (Pisum sativum ‘Bijou’). They are more than a bit taller than they should be due to early planting being followed by snow which made me reluctant to get them out. This is them after they’ve had the tips pinched out – not something that one has to do with edible peas but it does have its benefits in this case – encouraging lateral growth, reducing the spindly stems which might have been damaged when transplanted and, not least, it also provides tasty pea shoots to eat!
Pea shoots are something I personally rather like – they mostly taste like young fresh peas and are nice thrown into a salad or just browsed straight from the plant. The outdoor sown ones will not be pinched, so it’ll be interesting to see the difference between the two sets. The earliest set of the sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus ‘Midnight’ and ‘White Supreme’) are coming along well. They’re ready to go out, in fact – just not, as today, when hail is coming down between bursts of bright sunshine and brooding cloud cover. The ones sown a few weeks later aren’t much behind, now – though germination hasn’t been superb for ‘Midnight’ compared to ‘White Supreme’.
The later sown broad beans are also beginning to come through – though as you can see from the photos, so are the weeds. Weeding time has begun in earnest, as has grass clipping and the maintenance side of things in general. Sowing is nominally ‘done’, now and it’s mostly waiting for things to grow and giving them the best care whilst they do so that will be the mainstay of my time on the plot from now on.
My second row of beetroot and lettuce also went in this week, as planned. The first row of lettuce has come up, but the tiny plants had to be carefully weeded so as not to let them be overgrown before they’d even got started. I decided to change my second row of lettuce to another cultivar – Latuca sativa ‘Really Red Deer Tongue’. This is one I’ve grown at home with great success – it seems quite bolt resistant and has deep glossy purple-red leaves in an open head. I decided to change this due to using it as a backup plant on another part of my plot (more on that in another post!) and felt it would be nice to add some continuity between both the design and proscribed sections of my plot and give a nice bold contrast for the almost lime-green, crinkly ‘Reine des Glaces’.
My pinks (Dianthus chinensis-hedwiggii ‘Black and White Minstrels’) are doing well in the polytunnel – the cooler environment and bigger pots are combining to bring them on, but in a nice, compact way. The pansies (Viola x wittrockiana ‘Padparadja’ and ‘Black Moon’) are also coming along well – with some starting to show true leaves. Both the pansies and the Calendula that have germinated should be pricked out some time later next week and, if all goes well, the pinks shouldn’t be long until they’re ready to go outside.
The nasturtiums (Tropaeolum major ‘Princess of India’) have germinated a little sporadically, so I’m hoping for a bit more germination and growth over the next few weeks so that they can also go outside – the colour has been a little variable, with some being deep green with hints of red and others simply being a dark green-white but both should look good against the colours of the other plants.
Now, if we could just get rid of these pesky hail storms…