They grow up so fast, don’t they? One minute they’re playing with their favourite action man, the next they’re a spotty teenager.
You can only hope that you’ve given them the best start in life, the right tools to guarantee success. You hope and pray that wherever they find themselves, they thrive and grow to be a valuable member of the potager garden – so the fruits of their labour find their way onto a diner’s plate.
Then, once they’ve given all they can, they enjoy a quiet retirement, slowly rotting away in the compost heap – ready to give the next generation their wisdom and nutrients.
Hmmm, got a bit carried away there with the analogy, sorry.
But it is true, all those seedlings that we’ve cared for and nurtured over the past few months are now in the ground, and the task today is to ensure they have the right conditions to grow strong and true.
We’ve got courgettes, pumpkins, butternut squashes, patty pans, cucamelons, runner beans, French beans, mange tout, spinach, beetroot, tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, aubergines, spring oinions, carrots, radishes, lettuces, shallots and leeks.
In the brassica cage, protected from cabbage white butterflies, we have cavolo nero, curly kale, tender stem broccoli, golden acre and savoy cabbages, cauilflowers and swede.
Still in the very young seedling stage however are our crops of celery and celeriac, but they are not far behind.
While it’s important to look after the crops as they grow, it is is also wise to give them the best possible start when planting out.
For example – leeks. We sowed them in a seed tray, keeping them under cover until the seedlings reached about 10-15cm.
They are then hardened off in the cold frame for a couple of weeks ready to be planted out in a very specific way.
When planting out brassicas, is is advisable to tread them in firmly, but it is the opposite with leeks.
Use a dibber to make a hole in a finely prepared bed, about 5-10cm deep. Into each one, drop a single leek seedling, but do not backfill the hole. Instead, carefully fill the hole with water and let the soil drop back in naturally. Job done.
Elsewhere on the Crouchers Hotel estate – I cannot deny that the roses in the herbaceous border are particularly stunning at the moment, with huge, vibrant and abundant heads.
In fact the gardens all around the hotel have been getting admiring comments from guests, and it is great to get such feedback – it proves we’re doing something right – especially as they are not even in full bloom yet.
We all know time will fly by, so let’s make the most of the summer and enjoy the fruits of our labour – before we all retire to the compost heap!