Sunshine required in the Kitchen Garden

Sunshine required in the Kitchen Garden, (in between rain)……

 …… for longer than half an hour?  This was my plea this weekend in East Yorkshire.  The vegetable plants are shooting up in the greenhouse, almost ‘champing at the bit’ (or is it chomping?) to go to their final resting place outside.  And I need to plant some seeds straight into the soil of the raised beds, but the sun needs to warm up the soil (and I’m sick of getting wet).

Courgette Romanesco, hoping for warm weather

This last weekend, the third one of April, we have experienced the most …… XXXX weather. Forgive me, but this weather we are having is wierd, really wierd, and doesn’t just have us exasperated, but also the birds and the plants. 

My Courgettes, from Sarah Raven’s catalogue, are growing well, almost too well, and that’s the problem, as they cannot go outside until mid/late May.  I’ve already potted them up once, but I may have to put them into a big planter in the greenhouse to keep them happy, until it’s warm enough to plant them in the Kitchen Garden.  I’m growing ‘Romanesco’ as, apart from it having a great taste, the grandchildren love its ridged cog-like slices. But this year I’m also growing Courgette ‘Tromboncino’, a climbing Courgette, with a shape that I find difficult to describe. As Jacob, aged 12 1/2 puts it, “It’s like man’s bits, Granny.” Let’s just leave it at that! 

We love Courgettes, sauted in butter with a pinch of Tarragon, halved, oiled and sprinkled with Oregano and grilled or barbecued, sliced thinly and dressed with lemon juice and good olive oil, made into fritters, or gratins with tomato sauce and mozzarella, and the piece de resistance, Courgette flowers stuffed with ricotta (or crab meat) and deep fried.  Stunning. Gradually all recipes for these will be typed up on the blog.

At last the Wild Garlic flower unfurls its delicate petals

So in between the rain and the few minutes of sunshine, we carried on with our other chores.  Erik painted his bike in his shed, (a sort of shimmery Swedish Green – Umm …… nice), and I re-potted tomatoes, chillis, artichokes etc in my greenhouse, only to be thwarted in my attempt to sow seeds directly into the soil outside (because of the heavy showers).  But one good thing happened. Day after day, on my trek to the Kitchen Garden, I had checked on the Wild Garlic, and today, lo and behold, my ‘forest’ of Wild Garlic had decided to open up one of its delicate flowers, so in between the showers, I grabbed Erik’s camera and took the picture above.  OK, I know, the flower is tiny, you almost need a magnifying glass to spot it, but it is pretty, so pretty.  Well worth waiting for, I think.

Red-stemmed Lovage, emerging from its Winter sleep

It really was a bit frantic in our garden in twixt rain and sun. “Quick, get the camera,” I murmured to myself. “Snap the Lovage, oh, and the Apple Blossom.  And see if I can do the Herb garden.  Quick, get the camera back in the house, it’s starting again.” Dash back into the house, replace camera (very carefully) on the chopping block, put hood back on and dash back to greenhouse. This just didn’t happen once, it was two or three times.  That’s when I appealed to the weather: “Come on.  Sunshine required in the Kitchen Garden, (in between the rain).  Please.”

Our Herb Garden, a picture in Green and Blue and wet!

But no, it was not to be.  Sun. Then lots of heavy rain. Quick sun.  More heavy rain! Luckily the Lovage and the Herbs seemed quite happy with their lot.  A lot of Herbs are used to hot countries – think of Oregano, Sage, Rosemary etc growing wild in in the slopes above Greek beaches, so hopefully they will be patient and keep on growing in anticipation of our Summer.  (Lovage has had a whole post written about it a few months ago, alongside the recipe for the fabulous Lovage Soup.  To read the post and the recipe, Click Here.)

Apple Blossom, a hint of Summer

But my plea went unanswered.  The weather didn’t get any better.  At all.  This weekend our clothes have run the gamut of our seasonal wardrobe – from strappy t-shirts (me only, honest), cotton jeans and sandals right through to 3 layers topped off with a rainproof jacket, thick trousers and boots.  And because the weather changed every hour, it was on/off/on/off/on/off. On Saturday, we accepted defeat at 3.00 o’clock pm, literally hosed the mud off, showered and changed into our best smart/casual clothes, lit the wood-burner in the lounge, poured ourselves a glass of Prosecco and collapsed on the sofa to watch “The Vikings” featuring the rather beautiful young Tony Curtis and Kirk Douglas.

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