The rain over the last 3 weeks has been very gratefully received and a welcome relief for everyone.
This time of year can be a confusing time in the garden with wonderfully warm, heading towards summer days, followed by light the fire and shivering back into winter. While the warm days make us think that we can start planting for summer, the soil temperatures are still quite cool and summer seed germination is still some time off. However while it is too early to plant summer seeds into the garden it is a great time to get summer plantings started as seedlings in a protected spot, hot house, cold frame or the window sill.
This variation in temperatures can also cause vegies that have been sitting quietly in the garden through winter to suddenly burst into flowering. While this is not ideal it does not mean that these plants are inedible. While the flower stem can become woody, this usually takes a few weeks. Leafy greens that have suddenly shot up can still be harvested for their leaves, turnips and some other root vegetables can still be eaten for 2 to 3 weeks after the emergence of the the flower stalk. The only exception to this is with leeks. As soon as the flower stalk starts to emerge the leek is no longer edible as the flower stalk creates a very hard core within the leek.
It also an exciting time in the garden as the winter dormancy is over and everything is bursting with the joy of life. The fruit trees are blossoming, and the hum of bees fills the air. Finches, wrens and willy wagtails flit and sing in the burgeoning garden growth. And of course hand in hand with all this wonderful garden growth are the weeds. Just as the vegies have been sitting quietly in the garden through winter so have the weeds. Managing the weeds needs to be a priority as these too are bursting into flower and seed.
Our favourite weeding tool for this heavy weed infestation of early spring is the stirrup hoe. But even with good hand tools, this year (the year of the nettle at Wynlen House) with the huge nettle infestation we are having to do much weeding by hand.
On a final note I came across this really interesting article in the Guardian about drought in our dry continent. Well worth the read.
Bronwyn Richards has cared for animals and has been growing vegetables successfully all her adult life. She is principle gardener for Wynlen House Farm