The recent spell of warm weather has really boosted our plants – including weeds!
At this time of year, I realise how much gardeners are just like the seeds they sow. Just as our seedlings are emerging into the light, and getting roots into the earth, there we are, rolling up our sleeves and letting the sun bring us alive after winter, and feeling grounded again, with the sense of purpose that comes from getting going with the season.
And with so much sunshine at the end of March, record breaking amounts, I gather, lots of the little leafy things that are quick to grow have raced ahead.
Our home-grown salads have enjoyed a sudden burst of new flavours, from garlic mustard, lemony sorrel, parsley, glossy new spinach, salad burnet and savoury lovage.
17th Edition 8 way fuse boards prevent fires & improve electrical safety. Save £28 on 8 way fuse boards for a limited time only with A & D Electrical.
Terms: Bristol and Bath areas.
Contact: 0117 2448240
Valid until: Monday, May 20 2013
That also means that other quick growers are starting to leaf up too, and one of my most satisfying tasks on the allotment this week has been to potter about, getting the weeds out from the fruit beds, and the pathways, before they are too strong to be pulled out by hand alone.
Getting weeds out while they are still small and comparatively weak, means that they take up less room in the composter, and require less back work to get them there, as well as leaving your chosen plants more room to thrive.
Getting them out now also disturbs woodlice colonies and reveals slug and snail egg clusters nestled by weed roots, which allows for some early pest control too.
Indoors, things are also moving fast, with peas, lettuce and other salads that were only sown a week ago already showing in their pots. All kinds of vegetable seeds can be sown regularly from now on, apart from the big growers, like squashes, that should wait a while yet. In particular, though, I've been turning my attention to leeks.
Although I love to experiment with different varieties, and methods of growing, for some reason I have only ever grown Musselburgh leeks, in quite a traditional way; sowing them indoors, and transplanting them later in to a nursery bed, where they grow on until they are lifted again, and put in their final growing places, often where the potatoes have been.
But lately, I have enjoyed eating baby leeks, steamed whole, and I would really like to grow lots of these, too. So, I've been thinking about different ways of growing them, and will try a method that I already like to use with beetroot, and red onions; that is to multisow them, in clusters. This simply means that, instead of sowing the seed singly in a pot, you sow, say, three in each space, transplanting them later, just as you would with single leeks. And come harvest time, you lift them in their bunches of three.
Although they are smaller, you get more leek per row than if you had sown them singly, so this is a good technique to try if you like smaller veg, and equally, if you only have a small space to work with.