This morning I start on a job that turns out to be much harder and more time consuming than I expected…when will I learn! I have sadly reached the conclusion that my previously beautiful wall of sweet peas in the polytunnel has probably finished and no amount of ‘dead-heading’ will revive plants that are now ‘straw’ yellow! To be fair to the sweet peas, they started much earlier than their outdoor cousins. Therefore, I have decided to remove them…not as easy as it sounds! Firstly, they are at the back of the side polytunnel bed which is full of crops – chillies, peppers, aubergines, broccoli, strawberries and various varieties of basil, and last but not least, Colin (a very large cactus!). ‘Twinkle toes’ (Kay with a broken toe) will have to balance in the small gaps between plants (not easy), secondly, I have planted other climbers and sunflowers amongst the sweet peas to take over when they finish…a fine plan until you try to untangle the sweet peas without breaking the other climbers. This job involves lots of patience, clipping and snipping and then retying. Another consideration is the snowstorm of dead sweet pea leaves smothering the ground which then need gathering up. I have started this job early, but then I have to go and get dad up. I return after a late breakfast and carry on until after 1pm. I am still less than half way along the bed! At this point, I have to tidy up because we have arranged for some friends to have a guided tour of the garden at 2pm. Although the garden is presently closed to the public, recently, we have had a couple of friends visit for a socially distanced tour around the garden. It is nice to see some people and receive a bit of feed-back. One comment from our friends today was “If you were a National Trust Garden you would have an army of gardeners and volunteers to do the weeding and garden tours”. Well, it was very kind to be likened to a National Trust Garden and it is true, it is very hard to keep up with the weeding. My beans have disappeared into a sea of seedling borage plants, as have the potatoes and I’ve completely mislaid the garlic (I know I have planted lots) which should be harvested at about this time. I try to reassure myself that all of this crazy companion planting, and even weeds are good for pollinators, confusing for pests and they keep the soil covered which helps to retain moisture!
When I looked at the mushrooms today, they were huge, they seem to grow massively in even 24 hours. I decide to harvest some to put in a beef pie for dinner. We have this with new potatoes, beans and broccoli all from the garden. I think I have worked out why only one mushroom bed is performing. We had to get extra manure to finish filling the beds and this productive bed received the 2nd batch of manure which was made with straw. I think the first batch used wood chip, which is not good for mushrooms so sadly they might not produce. But I am delighted with the successful beds and I will know about manure for the future. The whole family gather in the mushroom house to admire them and take their picture!