Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Early April In the Kitchen Garden

During early April in the kitchen garden there's loads of work to do; weeding, sowing, digging, pruning and planting. The lettuces and cabbages on the picture here have to be hardened off before they can be planted out in the kitchen garden. So I put them outside during the day and pop them back into the greenhouse at night.

And here's our friend the black bird keeping an eye on things from the water butt that catches all the rainwater off the roof of the greenhouse.

I've sown rocket, a mixture of lettuces and radishes in a cold frame and here they are hardening off during the day. It's still very cold at night, around freezing point or slightly above that. Night frost is normal this time of year and the newly sown plants are still very tender and need some protection during the night.

But during the day, the temperature can rise to around 20 degrees Celsius as it did during the Easter weekend when it was sunny and warm outside. We were very lucky to have such lovely weather at Easter and I was able to do a lot of work in the kitchen garden.

In the Victorian greenhouse I've planted some lettuce as well as some tomatoes and basil. Tomatoes and basil not only go well together in a salad but also in the garden, they are excellent companion plants.

These seedlings (corn, courgette and pumpkins) germinated in the conservatory where it's warmer during the night than in my unheated Victorian greenhouse, but they are moved into the greenhouse now to harden off a bit.

My plum tree, that I planted last year, is in flower for the first time. Pretty, isn't it? I hope there will be plums later this year. The plum I chose is Opal, which is my favorite plum.

The rhubarb that is being forced in my special rhubarb pot, is coming along nicely. I will be harvesting the first rhubarb of the year next week.

The newly dug potato bed has been planted with potatoes 2 weeks ago. The 3 sisters bed is still waiting to be planted but the corn, squash and bean seedlings are coming along nicely, so it won't be long before this bed is planted as well.

The strawberries are in flower rather early this year which is nice as I love strawberries, especially the ones I've grown myself, they are so yummy.

In the garlic bed I've planted a pink windmill flower to add a bit of fun and some colour in this otherwise dull bed. And it makes it easy to see, when you are inside, whether there is a strong wind blowing or not as the flower will spin around like mad in the breeze.

This is the spot where I usually sit outside in the kitchen garden when the sun is shining and it's not too cold. The frilly violets are fun to look at, the wallflowers provide me with a wonderful scent which is hard to miss when you're sitting so close to them, and the thyme is nice to touch and smell. It's always a good idea to have some scented plants close by to where you usually sit in your garden for maximum enjoyment.

Summer of man its sunlight and its flower,
Spring-time of man all April in a face.
John Masefield, 'On Growing Old'


Hannele said...

Lovely Kitchen Garden you have, we have snails..

Carol said...

What a wonderful tour through your kitchen garden. Now, I am hungry for some fresh lettuce, I wonder why?

Still too cold here to do much more outside. Even the grass has stopped growing so wildly.

Anita said...

Wow, I very much enjoyed the tour around your kitchen garden! And of course, I took a special look at your wonderful rhubarb pot! I can't wait to get mine! Yes you are right, it should be delivered these days, cross your fingers that it won't get damaged during the transport from the Netherlands to Germany!

Your strawberries are very early in bloom, indeed.

BTW, I wonder how your fertilize your vegetables? Do you have your own compost pile?

I'll attend my pottery class tonight.... new balls will be ready, soon!

Happy gardening - hope your weahter is much better than ours!


Verena said...

Wow, everything grows and blooms! I love strawberries too but at the moment we have no place for a kitchen garden.
I like the picture of the ladybirds most - they are soo cute!
See you, greetings Verena

marl1 said...

(haha dat comment van Hannele:)
Het ziet er veelbelovend en zo goed georganiseerd uit!! En voor die pot alleen al wil ik wel rabarber...
Altijd zo bijzonder bevredigend om iets uit je eigen tuin te eten. Ik doe ook pogingen, maar iets kleinschaliger...
En die geuren zo vlakbij, met zonnetje, poesjes -of hondje!- het paradijs toch?

Entangled said...

I'm intrigued by your rhubarb pot. Do the stems blanch out to pink in it? Or is it just to get an earlier crop? I've always known rhubarb as a big clump grown out in the open.

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Hi all,

Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog.

Hannele: LOL We have snails too!

Carol: the only good thing about a cold spell is that there's less mowing to do.

Anita: I hope your rhubarb pot will arrive safe and sound at your door soon!

I use organic fertilizer (dried cow dung pellets) and compost and mulch from my own garden.

Last year my hubby made me 2 compost bins.

I'm looking forward to see lots of pictures of all the new things you made in pottery class.

Verena: you can put stawberries or other things like lettuce and herbs in between the plants in your borders. Those 2 ladybirds are cute!

Marleen: ja, dat commentaar was erg geestig. En het is heerlijk om groente, kruiden en fruit uit eigen tuin te eten.

Het was gisteren inderdaad paradijslijk in mijn tuin toen ik er even zat te lunchen met katje op schoot. ;-)

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Hi Entangled,

There are 3 reasons to use a rhubarb forcing pot:
1) to get an earlier crop
2) the stems will be more tender and taste better
3) the rhubarb pot looks good in any garden.

Thalia said...

Wow, you are having quite a busy time in your garden! It was wonderful to know that you are growing so many different vegetables in your garden! I loved the little birdie! :-)

stadtgarten said...

You have got a wonderful kitchen garden with such a great variety of herbs, fruit and vegetables!
Groetjes, Monika

Gardener Greg said...

I can see I have some work to do to get my gardens in such good shape. My plants are growing well but I need to tidy up a bit before I take more photo's. Thanks for the tour,


Tyra i Vaxholm said...

Hi Yolanda, what a wonderful kitchen garden you have. How big is it? I´ve a small potager I guess it´s about 150 square meters. It´such a delight to grow your own veggies. Do you keep animals? for example the hens on the photos? or is it just pretty pictures?
Tyra in Vaxholm Sweden

Bert said...

What a great munch garden. There will be a lot of goodies soon. It's nice to see it all coming in to flower and growing in time.
Can't wait to see the state of youre kitchen garden next month.

Annie in Austin said...

Super kitchen garden, Yolanda Elizabet, with so many ideas that we can borrow ;-)

I'm glad you explained that 'rocket' meant a radish and lettuce mix. When you mentioned it before I was confused and had the flower Dame's Rocket in mind.
Using a mix like this makes a lot of sense, since as the fast-growing radishes are pulled for the table, it makes more space for the lettuce. What an attractive and clever way to save space!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Pam/Digging said...

Reading your blog today made me hungry! ;-)

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Hi all,

Thanks for your lovely comments.

Thalia: that black bird lives in my garden. At the moment it is nesting in the hedge with its mate.

Tyra: my kitchen garden is about 90 square meters but this year I have 2 extra beds, one for potatoes and one 3 sisters bed. So this year, it's bigger, say about 110 - 120 square meters.

I have cats, do they count? :-) Seriously though, I'm thinking of getting a few chickens. The chickens on that picture are not mine.

Bert: loads of tasty food will be munched away in a few weeks from now.

Annie: we have a bit of a misunderstanding. It's probably to do with the fact that I speak (more or less) British English and you American. The rocket I mean is what the British call salad rocket or rocket for short. Latin name: Eruca sativa, ssp. sativa, syn. Rucola coltivata. The Dutch call it rucola.

And yes, it does make sense to sow radishes and lettuce at the same time, as the radishes are harvested very quickly so the lettuces have more growing space. I sow radishes where ever there is a bit of space left. I love them, they're so nice and crunchy.

Pam: wait until the fruit is ripe and the vegetables ready for the table, it will be mouthwatering then. ;-)

Lis said...

Um deinen Küchengarten beneide ich dich, er ist wunderschön. Du warst auch schon sehr fleissig mit dem aussähen, ein Gewächshaus ist schon sehr praktisch.
Hier war heute auch wieder wunderbares Wetter und es soll noch wärmer werden. Der Garten ist ganz trocken und ich habe kein Regenwasser mehr, grrrrr :-))
LG Lis

Kate said...

Hi Yolanda,

Now that was a wonderful kitchen garden tour, more so because the snow is coming down hard this morning. I enjoyed seeing all these vibrant signs of life ... I so love your corner with the beautiful arrangement of violets. It is such an inviting place.

I was happy to see into your Victorian greenhouse too. And like so many others here, I was intrigued with the rhubarb forcing pot. It is such a cool idea - thanks for explaining the reasoning behind it. (Now I want one too!!)

Like Annie, I thought you meant Dame's Rocket, so had to smile at how English meanings can differ so much from North America to overseas!

And ladybugs ... what adorable little creatures.

Robin said...

Yolanda, I love your greenhouse! What a beautiful garden you have, it is so organized and neat. It makes me want some acreage of my own. My HOA (home owners association) would have a cow if I started something like this. It would never be approved, neither would a greenhouse. Thanks for sharing yours.

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Hi all,

Greg: I'll be looking forward to see the pictures of your garden.

Monika: glad you liked it all!

Lis: we have the same problems, the earth is very dry here as well and I've run out of rainwater too. So I feel like Grrrrrrr, like you do too.

Kate: I had to google the rocket Annie and you meant because I hadn't a clue what you both were talking about. Babel reigns, even when you speak the same (well more or less) lingo. ;-)

So, now you want a rhubarb pot like that too? Anita in Germany has already ordered one from the Dutch company I mentioned before. Those pots are not so easy to find over here.

You just gotta love those ladybugs, especially when you love roses like I do, because aphids alert! I saw the first ones on my rosebuds today so the ladybugs won't go hungry tonight.

SchneiderHein said...

Schön, wie durch all' die Bilder Deinen Garten kennenlernen kann!
Von einem Rhabarber-Topf habe ich noch nie etwas gehört, aber vielleicht sollte ich es auch mal so probieren, denn unser Rhabarber gedeiht seit mehreren Jahren nicht mehr so gut.
Deine violetten Stiefmütterchen haben eine umwerfend schöne Farbe und zusammen mit dem hellvioletten Goldlack ist das eine hinreißende Kombination. Es macht wirklich viel Spaß durch Deinen Blog spazieren zu gehen!
Liebe Grüße Silke

Birgit said...

Super schön Dein Küchengarten. Leider habe ich dafür überhaupt keinen Platz mehr. Außerdem bin ich ein schlechter Ernter. Hatte schon Kräuter, Tomaten und auch Erdbeeren. Meistens habe ich sie allesamt nicht abgeerntet. Habe sogar Petersilie gekauft, obwohl ich sie im Garten hatte ;-(. Deshalb lasse ich jetzt die Finger davon. LG Birgit

Salix Tree said...

How funny, I was just at your blog looking around while you were at mine.
Strawberry flowers already? Wow. Mine are still cringing in the soil, waiting for it to get a wee bit warmer.
Sweet blackbird. Lovely birds, I love thier evening song.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Beautiful! It is so nice to see all of this spring in your garden, Yoland Elizabet. :)

Molly said...

Your garden is wonderful! Thanks for the tour. I'd never seen or heard of a rhubarb forcing pot. I love it. But first I need to get a rhubarb plant to stay alive. I've managed to kill three so far.

OldRoses said...

I can't believe how beautiful your garden is so early in the year!

LostRoses said...

Yolanda, I love your special rhubarb pot, I haven't seen anything like that here. I love your whole blog, and your tidy garden -- something I'll never have-- so it's nice to look at your pictures!

Gotta Garden said...

You'll be eating well very soon! I just got some lemon verbena as I love to have it nearby just to touch. It's been in the garage the last few nights, but I think, hopefully, after tonight, the temps are going up.

It's all lovely, YE, and so inspiring!

A Woman Who is: said...

I dropped in for a visit and was delight by your lovely tour of your kitchen garden, very inspiring. You have poured much love and creativity into your garden. I enjoyed it very much.

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Hi all,

Thanks for visiting and commenting!

Robin: what a pity you can't have a kitchen garden because of your HOA. Weird, as so many people love an ornamental kitchen garden. It is both pretty and functional.

Silke: those rhubarb pots are hard to find. Anita from Germany has ordered one from the Dutch company Vreeken www.vreeken.nl/ where I bought my rhubarb pot.

Birgit: a kitchengarden is perhaps not something for everybody. I'm glad that you enjoyed your visit to my kitchen garden.

Salix tree: we were thinking about each other at the same time. ;-) Blackbirds are great, I love their evening song too.

Kim: glad you enjoyed it. Spring is on its way to you too.

Molly: Rhubarb needs lots of food, perhaps that is the problem? Glad you liked the pot.

Oldroses: it's also a bit early for me. Usually this display would be a few weeks later, say end of April. This year everything is very early. Most of my roses are in bud already, which is unheard of over here.

Lostroses: glad you like the rhubarb pot, you are not the only one, I've noticed. ;-)

GG: there's lemon verbena in my greenhouse now and it's in bud. Hopefully its leaves will unfold soon and I can have some nice lemon flavoured tea with a few of its leaves added to my cuppa.

A woman who is: welcome to my blog, glad you liked it!

Libbys Blog said...

Just reading your post totally inspires me. I'm dtermined to have a lovely garden like yours!!!

ina said...

mijn engels is niet zo goed daarom in het nederlands ,ik vind dat je een prachtige site hebt ,kom je ook eens bij mij op bezoek? gr ina uit twente

Bartowian said...

I was googling for advice on fertilizing parsley and ...tadah... found myself admiring your wonderful blog, Yolanda.

...but no parsley fertilization advice (I thought a balanced liquid, twice each season, or slow-release once worked into the soil; I'm not into the "natural" kind... ;-)

I don't have a nice blog, like you, but lots of photos (about everything and then some) here---> www.panoramio.com/user/552828/tags/garden

Come visit sometimes...