Just-spring*

The ground is not quite as saturated as it has been; though the grass paths in the kitchen garden still squelch under foot, and there is more mud than grass where foot traffic is heaviest alongside the wood store. The main lawn seems remarkably unscathed so far despite our toing-and-froing, though definitely in need of a cut as soon as it is dry enough.

Snowdrops

Beckoned out by blue skies and sunshine this weekend, I danced as carefully as I could through the borders; cutting back, tidying and weeding with a light hand, trying to avoid compressing the earth too much.

Hellebore flower and foliage

Everywhere there were signs of the garden waking up; shoots pushing up from nowhere, buds fattening on stems. It was exhilarating working in such a stiff bitter breeze, but the the sun was full of promise, its heat tempering the wind’s bite. I stayed my hand at cutting back some of the more tender plants while there is still cold weather to come, and resisted the temptation to dig while the water table is still so high.

Primrose; white flowered

There were still plenty of tasks to keep me busy, though. I cut the autumn raspberry canes back to the ground, a little later than usual; noting that buds were already emerging up the length of the canes. If I wanted to push these, I could have allowed them to unfurl this new growth and produce a small crop of early fruit before their main autumn crop, but since we already have a range of summer-fruiting canes I prefer to cut them back. The new canes should appear in the coming weeks, to flower and fruit at the end of the summer.

Bakewell tarts and banana loaf

Back inside, then, to warm up and enjoy a homemade Bakewell tart and a cup of tea; my mind still full of the garden, schemes and dreams for the days to follow.

Homegrown salsify and parsnip

The kitchen garden yielded the last of our parsnips – a hefty root – and several salsify roots, which we later roasted with thyme. The salsify was very similar in taste to parsnip, though drier and not so sweet. I’m not sure it offers enough to justify the extra space in the garden when we could just add a few more parsnips; we’ll try it cooked a few different ways before we decide whether to sow more this year – or let it flower and self-sow itself.

While we finalise our growing plans for the season ahead, we are slowly continuing to harvest the vegetables that are still standing, to make space for this year’s crops – we’re going to be eating a lot of savoy cabbage in the coming months!

     in Just-
      spring          when the world is mud-
      luscious...

*(in Just-      e.e.cummings      1920)

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15 thoughts on “Just-spring*

  1. It is always interesting to know how others decide what to gro in the vegetable line. Salsify sounds very exotic, but I did try it once, a long time ago, and found it rather insipid. I’ll be pleased to hear about you decisions regarding other veg too. Christina

    • I’m glad we tried growing salsify, but suspect we won’t repeat it. Insipid, yes: when I tried a raw cube before adding it to a broth I was making at the weekend, it had a very spongy texture and very little taste; when roasted it found some flavour but we thought it vastly inferior to that of parsnip, which we both enjoy.

  2. Your post sent me scurrying off to look for my e.e. cummings book – haven’t looked at in years! Puddle-wonderful! Well done for getting on with your jobs outside (it was cooler here today too, but no wind – your hill must be more exposed) – I am sure your Bakewell tart was well-deserved! You didn’t say what your interesting looking loaf was though….

    • Yes mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful here, for sure! Ah there was a banana and walnut loaf made for my husband behind the bakewells… he had already sampled the end before it even left the cooling rack! 🙂

      • Using up some manky bananas, were you?! I wonder if anyone makes banana loaves with nice yellow-skinned bananas..? Mary Berry has a good banana loaf recipe in her ‘Fast Cakes’ book which has cherries and dates in it as well – mmm, my mouth is watering at the thought of it!

        • I couldn’t resist, and my loaf (although made yesterday) is sitting avoiding temptation and awaiting cup of tea time a bit later on. AND they weren’t manky bananas – but it made it very difficult to mash them! If you haven’t got the book, I could post the recipe

  3. I feel that I am holding off doing jobs like you but I am struggling not to throw caution to the wind as I know it wont be long before my seed sowing starts and it gets busy

    • Yes, I suspect I will join you in cutting down the last grasses and salvias etc. next time I’m out in the garden – hopefully this coming weekend – or I may not find the opportunity once seed-sowing begins!

  4. The ground here is sodden as well although the sunshine these last couple of days is helping to dry things out a bit. I love your photos and the Bakewell tarts look yummy! I hope you don’t mind but I have nominated you for the Liebster Award – it’s just a fun way of recommending blogs to others and there is no obligation to take part, so no one will be offended if you don’t 🙂 Kirsten x
    http://thehappylarder.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/fragrant-freebie-giveaway-and-award.html#.USKJgvL3_xE

    • Thank you for the nomination. Alas I don’t *do* awards though (bah humbug) so I’m afraid I must decline – gracefully I hope! But I do appreciate the sentiment.

  5. Enjoy your cabbage! It is lovely, isn’t it, being able to get out and garden in sunshine, even with a cold snap in the air. Lovely flowery photos too. I’ve been contemplating the mower, but at the moment it is still too wet, and anyway the lawn is covered in shredding to be done. Once I work out how to tighten the belt on the shredder…

    • Yes still too wet to mow here, and the grass is looking decidedly shaggy. Hopefully a week or two of sunshine and we might be able to get cutting before the end of the month. Hope you get through your mountain of shredding!

  6. I’m intimately acquainted with that squelching sound Sarah especially at the allotment. I liked the thought of you dancing through the borders – you must be nimble with little feet. Interested to read your verdict on the taste of salsify and oh that cake looks good to come back indoors to.

    • The nimble dancing is rather wishful thinking; at six foot tall, my feet are rather long, though narrow, and my wellies inflate them further still!
      The bakewells were very enjoyable…

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