Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Working In the Potager

As it was such a lovely day last Monday I decided to work in the potager. There was a lot to do. For the next day they predicted rain (90 % chance) so I got my big bag of organic fertilizer out and started spreading the joy around. I use dried cow dung pellets and they are a slow release fertilizer that I use for everything; my veggies, my roses, the borders and hedges, all do wonderfully well with a helping of dried organic cow dung.
The rain tomorrow will make sure that the fertilizer sinks into the soil.

We had frost lately so I couldn't do the outdoor sowing I normally do around the 15th of February. But last Monday was nice and sunny so I got cracking with my outdoor sowing. The 2 beds I had prepared earlier in January when the weather was so very mild so there was hardly any weed showing in the beds. I just had to rake the soil over a bit and that was pretty much that.
In the first bed I've sown broad beans as they are one of my favourite vegs and they are so easy to grow.
Here's the bed all done and now all we have to do is wait for the beans to push their first leaves through the soil. In case you're wondering why the bamboo canes are there; it's a cunning plan of mine to keep the neighbourhood cats from digging in my freshly sown beds. Not one member of the Bliss team shows any of this appalling behaviour, so it is very annoying that other people's cats are behaving in that way in my garden.
But enough of that, lets look at the second bed. Here I've sown capuchiners/sugar peas, a very old Dutch pea. It's been in cultivation in the Netherlands since 1536 and is also known as the Holland Pea. I love to eat them fresh instead of dried but unfortunately you can almost never buy them fresh (it's either dried or canned) so I grow my own. I think the pods are very pretty with their lovely purple colour and the flowers are lovely like those of the lathyrus/sweet pea.
Speaking of sweet peas, I had sown a bunch in January and it was time to put them into the Victorian greenhouse but first, off with their heads.
There! Now where there was just one shoot, two can form, giving me double the amount of flowers in a few months time.
After I had pinched the tops out I put the sweet peas in the greenhouse where they can grow merrily on until it is time to put them outside in the garden. Although my greenhouse is unheated, temperatures can rise quite high, even in February. Here you can see (excuse the spider poo) that it's already over 37 C / 98.6 F, not bad for a winter's day. Note to self: clean the thermometer next time you are in the greenhouse!
I also did some harvesting in my potager;
the last of my red cabbages and also some ruccola/rocket salad. There is still some winter purslane and Swiss Chard ready to be harvested and the radishes and lettuces that I'd sown last month are merrily growing away in the cold frames. It is possible to harvest something from the potager during every month of the year. Of course there will be less to harvest during the winter and early spring months than during the summer and autumn months, but still, every little bit that's homegrown counts as it is twice as tasty as the shop bought stuff.
After all that hard work it was time for a cuppa and a cuddle. Surprise is always in for a cuddle, she is such a fun cat to have around. After I'd finished my cuppa tea and the cuddling session with Surprise I decided to do the Tour. When I do the Tour I walk around my garden, starting at point A and finishing with point Z, while looking at every little thing on the way. I don't rush around, running towards something new that is evidently in flower. No, I just walk around very calmly from A to Z and look at literally everything, and that blooming thing hollering its head off in the distance will just have to wait, while I make sure that I haven't missed the tiniest new development somewhere else in my garden. It's surprising what turns up when you look at your garden in this way.
Like this tiny Crocus that worked its way through the gravel. Must dig it out and put it somewhere more Crocus friendly.
And here, Mr Frog, already out and about!
Isn't it nice to see that the dafs are almost there? I would never have seen that if I had been running towards all those look-at-me's like these
and these
and this one
or those
or this.
And I was not alone doing the Tour on Monday, here's Dolly Daisy admiring the spring flowers in the garden.
I'm happy to see that my garden has bounced back from that visit from the Ice Queen and is doing fine. It's only the Bergenia that has a bit of damage and its flowers look very sorry for themselves. I'm slowly recovering too, spending a day in my garden in lovely, sunny weather is the best medicine the doctor could possibly order!

copyright 2008 Y.E.W. Heuzen

Whoever makes a garden
Has never worked alone;
The rain has always found it,
The sun has always known;
The wind has blown across it
And helped to scatter seeds;
Whoever makes a garden
Has all the help s/he needs.
Douglas Malloch, Who Makes a Garden


gintoino said...

yolanda, your garden looks beautiful as usual (You know I love your potager ;-) ) Those dutch peas sound lovelly, I'll have to look for some more info on them. I've also sowed broad peas but unfortunately they are not producing very well.
Greeting to all your cats from all the gardening team in Portugal

Entangled said...

I googled Holland Pea and came up with what we call snow peas, which don't seem the same as what you describe. Whatever they are, they sound interesting!

Libbys Blog said...

As always plenty to see and do in your inspirational garden.
I loved your comment on the cats habits... mine to, never 'go' in my garden they 'go' in everyone elses!!lol!

GardenJoy4Me said...

Yolanda hello !
I am a fan of potager gardens and I try to incorporate that stle as much as possible in my quirky garden.
Love the pictures and narrative .. and your cat "kids" are gorgeous too !
Joy : )

Frances said...

Yolanda, your potager is my inspiration. But cutting the heads off the sweet peas, I will do it, but it hurts! You are so right about taking time to see the smaller things happening, so glad you are feeling well enough to do the things you so enjoy. :->

Frances at Faire Garden

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Thinning and pinching back are so difficult for me to do.

I always love a tour around your potager. Glad you were able to be out and about today and enjoy tea and snuggles in the garden.

Barbara said...

How busy you were! Great! I'll just start next week with all my seeds. Sweet peas get this year "your" treatment and I'm curious to see how it works....!
Have a nice time when gardening

lenie said...

nou jij bent beter dus ...pffffffff ik ben nog deuren aan het lakken , oké ik heb ook wat werk in de tuin gedaan het weekend ..snoeiwerk dus ;))))
wat ik wel erg leuk vind is de kikker is die al op pad ???? wordt het hóóg tijd dat ik de vijver ga kuisen .....menschhh heb het druk de vogels zijn ook al aan het sjouwen met nestmateriaal ..hellup ik kom tijd tekort ....eerst ..thee want ik stink hier weg in huis ..brrrrr;))
OT: kom je even helpen boenen met die zwaan ?? weet je hoe boos die worden ?? heel normaal hoor die kleur ;)))

lintys said...

I'm glad you're feeling better!

Your garden is just lovely. It's so nice to see green, blooming things when it's the dead of winter here. There's snow on my garden and everything is still sleeping here.

marl1 said...

Dat was weer een heerlijk rondje door je tuin :-) Goed idee die anti-poes stokken in je bloestuin (BLoem+mOES;)
De capucijnerpeulen zijn idd zo mooi(ook in bloemstukken)helaas zie ik ze ook nooit in de winkel...

Pam/Digging said...

I'm glad to hear that you've been up and about and puttering in the potager. Your garden is certainly greening up and looking like spring.

Ewa said...

thiaa... this is exactly what I also do in my garden - The Tour - exactly same way you have described. Not rushing and not missing any single thing and event... :)
that's funny :)

Lis said...

Du bist aber schon fleißig gewesen, so sauber sieht mein Garten leider noch nicht aus. Aber morgen schneide ich die letzten Stauden und mein Mann kann sie dann häckseln.
Die lilafarbenen Krokuse sind sehr schön. Ich muß mir im Herbst auch mal wieder welche kaufen, bei mir werden es immer weniger.
LG Lis

Brimstone said...

Je beschrijft je moestuin zo enthousiast dat ik er bijna spijt van krijg dat ik geen plekje er voor in mijn plan heb opgenomen.
Alles ziet er alweer heel aantrekkelijk uit. Ik heb vanmiddag weer genoten in mijn tuin, gewoon onkruid weghalen, maar dan zie je het meeste :-)

Marian said...

Het is een ramp, andermans katten in je tuin, hier graven ze alleen op droge plekjes vlak langs de gevel, daar heb ik nu maar snoeisel van rozen en hulst neergelegd en het helpt, hoera!
Nu nog iets vinden tegen die vreselijke hitsige katers die hier zonodig hun "geurtje" achter moeten laten, misselijk word ik er van. Ze doen het ook zo graag onder ons slaapkamerraam, dan ga ik maar weer weldoende rond met een fles Ajax, dat houdt ze voorlopig weer even op een afstandje en het ruikt een stuk frisser! Maar ik kan toch kwalijk de hele tuin ermee doen ;-)
Vandaag kwam ik ook een zo'n gestreepte crocus tegen, ooit had ik er meer, in een vorige tuin en deze zal toch ergens met meeverhuisd zijn, ik vind ze mooi!
Die donkere paarse trouwens ook!
Gezellig je katjes mee de tuin in, die van ons moeten zich nog even binnen vermaken, hun 'paviljoen' is nog niet zomerklaar!
In ieder geval heb ik vandaag behoorlijk mijn best gedaan in de tuin, weer een stukje af, bijna op de helft!
Gut, wat een verhaal weer,
welterusten! groeten, Marian

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Yolanda so glad you were able to be out and about today. Your garden just looks so lively with the spring flowers popping up all over.

That Surprise and Dolly Daisy are lucky kitties to have their momma with them in the garden.

joey said...

You must be delighted to work the earth. Ours is still frozen and under a blanket of snow :(

Tracy said...

I just love to come here Yolanda, and see all you have happening! It inspires me, as a novice gardener, that maybe one day my garden dreams will come true...I'm sure your day in the garden was just what you needed! :o) Red cabbage....delicious. Happy Day ((HUGS))

Betty said...

It's always a pleasure to drop in and see your garden and what you are planting and planing....

I remember Sweet Peas from my childhood and I've tried many times to grow the time they are ready to bloom our temperatures are so hot they are 'goners'.....

Hope springs eternal in the breast and I'm trying again this year....

Thanks for visiting with me...Betty

lisa said...

Thank you for these pictures! Makes me feel good to see signs of spring SOMEWHERE...glad to hear you are feeling better, too. I've become a cat hostess recently, but they are indoors only. I like your garden strategy, though...think I may need to employ that for my neighbor's cat.

Poppins said...

Unbelieveble that you have sown already. It is still February!

beuzeblaadje said...

Zo dat was een heerlijk dagje tuin! Dat ziet er mooi uit! Grappig die stokken tegen de poezen maar belachelijk dat het nodig is!
Ook het gedicht onder aan je log is mooi!


Carol said...

Yes, a day in your garden would make anyone feel better. And that's a great tip on the sweet peas, to cut them back before you plant them out in the garden.

I hope you continue to get better and I'm looking forward to seeing your garden as it continues to grow and charm us all.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Gowri said...

Lovely write-up Yolanda. And I liked the poem at the end too. By the way, I have changed my blog address to



Jen Fu said...

One thing really caught my eye/imagination in this post.

Spider poo? Really and truly or a joke?

Chookie said...

A crocus and a croaker next to each other? Delightful!
I grew 'Purple Podded Dutch' peas a couple of years ago and they were delicious. Hoping your harvest is a big one. And interestingly, early March is when we plant our sweet peas so I will be putting mine in the ground soon!

Hypertufa Gardener said...

I love your blog. What amazing pictures especially the one with rows and rows of flowers. I'm gonna show my father your blog as his passion is gardening and growing anything he can. I'm sure he'll love it as much as I. Will come back again.


Jamie Boyle
Hypertufa Gardener

Hanneles Paradies said...


Kerri said...

The very first flowers I ever planted were Sweet Peas :) I love this little stroll around your spring garden Yolander.
How pleasant to have such sweet company. The kitties are interested in everything we do, aren't they?
I'm very curious about the bamboo canes keeping the neighbourhood cats from digging. How does that work?
So glad to hear you're beginning to feel better.

Marcia said...

Your garden looks beautiful!
I love flowers :)