Busy Sunday

The spring weather continues to be glorious, and as the earth warms up, more seeds can be sown and indoor growers transplanted to outdoors.

Today we began with the task of potting on. Vegetable growing is a continuous production line; plants needing a long growing season, such as aubergine, begin inside in a warm place in the house. They then shift to a greenhouse as the weather picks up, and some stay in the greenhouse. Hardier species will move outside, and some just like being outside from the start of their little productive lives.

Brassicas are one of our hardiest. This year we have cheated and bought plugs from a market garden friend we know (big shout out to Martin at Sharps Growers in Kings Newton). Sharps produce them by the thousands, and when we only need 2 to 7 of a vegetable type, it isn’t even cost-effective to buy the seed packets! Another job is to keep the pesky pigeons from our luscious baby leaves, and so I delved into ‘the barn’ (a shed), and pulled out pieces of the fruit cage we lost to a heavy snow drop a few years ago. Someone stupidly left the top mesh in place and the snow can do quite a bit of damage with its weight! I salvaged enough straight uprights and beams to make a 10ft square walk-in netted cage – possibly the poshest cabbage patch in all of South Derbyshire! In there we have seven spring pointy cabbage, five brussels sprouts, two winter savoy cabbage, three round summer cabbage, six calabrese and six cauliflowers. Rather than staggered planting, we harvest things like the cauliflower at the same time and freeze in bulk.

The it was on to the second sowing of carrots, thirty feet of Robila, and a block of Velvet Queen sunflowers. This variety of sunflower are stunning, with a deep crimson petal – they should look stunning!

Nearer the house, an old belfast sink was requisitioned and repurposed as a pick-and-come-again mixed salad planter, just outside the kitchen doors.

Then the greenhouses were emptied of the winter-crud and refilled with 6 Ruthje tomato plants – a great eating variety apparently, 7 San Marzano plum-type cooking tomatoes, and 6 Arola cucumbers.

All in all, quite a productive day!

Another Odd-Job Day…

…I love those days where there’s no pressure to anything in particular, because you know full well that there’s always a list of things to complete.

As the weather’s warming up, it seemed like an opportune time to get the good old squash going, so in we popped the squash, to start in the house, and eventually move to the greenhouse, then outside under cloche until we’re so very sure that Jack Frost won’t visit.

Our squash choices consist of:

  • Tonda Padana – our favourite, great for Suz’s Lemon Yellow Squash Pie.
  • Butternut Waltham – we do like a roasted butternut soup.
  • Green Kuri – never tried it before, but keen to give it a whirl!

And then we have some Cocozelle von Tripolis courgette, Boltardy beetroot, and Tall Utah celery. I suspect I won’t get around to the beetroot as that will be sown directly in to the allotment, whereas the rest we’re starting from seed.

Next up is the cucumbers – nicely potted on and in to their final position in a greenhouse. We keep them separate to the tomato greenhouse as they like a slightly humid atmosphere, as do aubergines.

Whilst the tomatoes are looking a little leggy, we’ll try and check their growth by hardening them off to greenhouse temperatures. Soon they’ll be potted on into their own greenhouse.

Then on to mulching the currant bushes – we have two of each colour – black, red and white. Any berries that fall off can pop up as new plants, so we mulch to help prevent that, to keep the weeds in check, and to preserve soil moisture.

And finally, the Marsh Daisy chicks are four weeks old and feathering up nicely! This is their first trip outside, where we’ve moved them to a new Green Frog Design coop which will be their home for a while. Indeed, for those that stay with us, their home forever!

Detailed Planting Plan

Who doesn’t like pictures in place of words! Below is our detailed planting plan, showing our various growing areas, and what we intend to plant in each this year 🙂

The Patch 2016b - Greenhouse 1Greenhouse 1

We’ve dug deep into the Italian ‘Franchi’ seed range again, for both our cucumbers and tomatoes. The very first year we had an amazing crop of Telegraph Improved cucumbers, but since then it’s been quite disappointing. I suspect we’ve neglected them in some way, or done something wrong, but this year I’m going for a different variety – a slightly spikey stumpy affair called Cetriolo Marketmore. It’s self pollinating, and is an early harvesting cuke – we’ll see how they do! And as far as tomotaoes go, we’re going with the variety we love to cook with, San Marzano. A great fleshy dollop of red goodness, whose flavour really does come out when cooked low and slow.


Greenhouse 2The Patch 2016b - Greenhouse 2

Next up, in the greenhouse sitting next to the last, is our other favourite Franchi tomato – Marmande, a juicy beef tomato that can compete with the best for the honour of fugly fruit. Continuing the Italian theme, we have Corno Rosso peppers – a long juicy sweet pepper, looking like a large chilli. We grew something similar the year before last and they were a great shape for stuffing with cream cheese! Then we have our basil, Italiano Classico, which we tend to grow a lot of as we dry it for overwinter use. And for another strong flavour, we’ve a couple of pots of ‘Calypso’ Coriander.


The Patch 2016b - Greenhouse 3Greenhouse 3

We (notice I never use the word ‘I’ when it’s a bad thing?) failed abysmally last year with the aubergines. In fact, we’ve only ever had one really good year, but I won’t stop trying! Last year was down to the same reason many things weren’t as good as they could be – we had a two week holiday – the first in a long time! And I can’t imagine doing it again! Whilst it was fun, it was painful to return, and I’d be perfectly happy spending two weeks of holiday pootling around the patch, and I know Suz feels the same. So this year we’re not doing that, and we’ll be able to keep a better eye on things, hopefully! In greenhouse 3 we’ve got eight pots of Black Beauty aubergines – so even with one fruit per plant we should have enough to make a few meals 😉


Raised BedThe Patch 2016b - Fruit Bed 1

We love our raised bed, it’s such an easy task to work and I can see more of these in the future. This year we’re going with pretty much the same as last, except the various lettuce are also from the Franchi range. Perhaps we should buy shares?! We’ve a bed of Appollo F1 spinach, it worked well last year for us, and a bed of pick and come again lettuce, Misticanza di Lattughe. We have a couple of lines of wild rocket, and twelve lettuce stations, using the colourful variety Misticanza Lattughe Croccanti – a red and green leafy lottery. We’ve also got our baby carrots, Chantenay type – Cascade F1, and a row of Ravanello Rapid Red 2 radish, which we plant quite frequently for successional sowing.


Fruit Bed 1The Patch 2016b - Fruit Bed 1

Not one we usually list in our yearly planting post, but this year, whilst waiting for the weeds to dissipate from the old, failed, raspberry bed, we’re going to make use of it by way of veg! I should add, the raspberries failed for two reasons – the site is really not well sheltered, and the ground tends to wetness in this corner; so much so that the raspberries died off and we almost lost one of the rhubarbs a few years ago in a particularly bad winter. The rhubarb survived, but we pulled what was left of the raspberries out two years ago and barrowed some soil in to raise the bed by a couple of inches. The soil has some nasties in it – nettles and docks mostly – so two or three years of veg growing will give us time to turn it a few times and prompt them to germinate, so we can duly nobble them. Smiler and Jay have their own areas here – Smiler’s growing onions to sell at the front, whilst Jay has gone for carrots for rabbits, bless! We’ll grow a bed of sunflowers, for bird seed, and a bed of carrots as the ground is hopefully clean enough to not suffer from carrot fly.

I’ve also made a note of the various currant bushes there – we have two each of black, red and white. It was rather remiss of me, but when we planted them out I didn’t make a note of the what went where – so I’ve filled the varieties in as best I can, and will have to identify those I’m unsure about by fruit.


Fruit Bed 2The Patch 2016b - Fruit Bed 2

Our rhubarb and gooseberry bed featured in a post not so long ago, showing the propogating of new gooseberry bushes, and how easy it is. Again, I’ve made a note here as to the varieties we have. I thought we’d planted different varieties of rhubarb, but can only find receipts for one type, so they must all be Timperley Early! As far as gooseberries go, we have Invicta, which has the largest and most prolific fruit of the three, then the two Hinnomaki bushes, one yellow, one red. The red one hasn’t been great in terms of fruit number, but they are delicious and sweet. The Invicta has suffered the most from gooseberry sawfly, which nematodes have done a decent job of killing off. Thinking about it, I’m guessing Mr and Mrs Blackbird are probably getting to the dessert gooseberry Hinnomaki Red before we do!


AllotmentThe Patch 2016b - Allotment

Finally we have the main allotment area – this year shrunk down to 30′ x 30′. The asparagus and artichoke beds are permanent, but the remaining seven are part of a rotation system. Essentially, each crop moves down one space from where it was last grown, and once it reaches the bottom of a column, it moves back to the top of the column to its left. The odd one is the pea and bean bed, which will move next year to where the potatoes are this year. Next year the potatoes will move down to where the onions currently are, the onions down to where the root veg are, and the root veg will move to where the squash are, and so on. This way the main manuring each autumn will be where the old onion patch was and where the potatoes will next be. The squash doesn’t mind two years on the same ground, so the fact that squash will grown on ground previously having corgettes on isn’t a bad thing, and the brassicas will always follow the nitrogen fixing peas and beans.  We’re hoping by cutting down on the allotment side of things this year will prepare us for a potentially busier fruit tree season!

Merrybower Patch Illustration

Merrybower Patch 2014 Illustration

Here’s something I produced last year, to help with the day-to-day organisation of tasks at Merrybower. There are so many things to remember – when to sow, plant and harvest the various crops, when certain jobs need carrying out, when the various fruit trees are in season for picking. Obviously so much depends on the year itself, and you need to fine tune, but here I’ve laid out various calendars so we can see, at a glance, what we should be thinking of doing at any particular time. It’s an illustrated almanac specifically for us here to work from, and will be updated as and when things change (I’ve already noticed we’re missing celery and globe artichokes now, and a few trees are missing. Just click on the image below for the full-sized thing! See if you can spot the little owls 😉

Ah – I know I need some keys, but in a nutshell, the keys are as follows for the various tables:

“Salads, Herbs & Flowers” – sub-sections Greenhouse, Patch, Forage

  • Small dotted orange line – sow in heated area (indoors or heated greenhouse), to be transplanted later
  • Solid orange line – sow where they are to be grown to maturity (in cold greenhouse if appropriate, otherwise outside)
  • Solid brown line – plant out in final position
  • Solid green line – harvest period

“Seasonal Vegetables” – sub-sections by bed – Aliums, Brassicas, Legumes, Roots Squash & Sweetcorn, Potatoes

  • Small dotted orange line – sow in heated area (indoors or heated greenhouse), to be transplanted later
  • Long dotted orange line – sow under glass (cold frame, greenhouse, cloche), to be transplanted later
  • Solid orange line – sow where they are to be grown to maturity (in cold greenhouse if appropriate, otherwise outside)
  • Solid brown line – plant out in final position
  • Solid green line – harvest period
  • Solid blue line – leave in sunlight to chit

“Nuts & Berries”

  • Solid grey line – harvest

“General Tasks” – sub-sections Land, Orchard, Greenhouse, Fowl, Soft Fruits

  • Solid grey line – carry out task.

“The Orchard” – sub-sections Little Orchard (9-12ft), Big Orchard (12-15ft), Banty Paddock & House

  • Dark grey square – type of apple (culinary, dessert, cider/perry)
  • Calender dark grey square – pick fruit
  • Calender light grey line – useable time, with storage if necessary

It is worth noting that the fruit type is defined by the following colours:

  • Light green – apple
  • Dark green – pear
  • Purple – plum
  • Red – cherry


Greenhouse Update

We were only just saying that we finally feel like we’re getting into a rhythm, finally. It’s been five years now since we started growing down the patch, and as we run a five-year rotation with the vegetable beds, it seems oddly appropriate that we feel as though we (almost) know what we’re doing. In those five years we’ve dealt with droughts, floods, winds and rains, pigeons, rabbits, voles, rats and more recently fox, who took our beloved cockerel Ethelred 🙁 We’ve combatted slugs, white fly, greenfly, blackfly, sawfly, codling moth, sparrows (and their fondness for beetroot leaves). We’ve relocated ladybirds from one area to another, where we know the food is, sprayed nematodes, which were fantastic, and learned to hoe little and often – the best thing ever to do.

However, there’s always something sent to test you – current ‘big’ jobs are:

  • Fix the fruit cage that bent under the weight of snow over winter as some muppet forgot to take the netting off the roof.
  • De-head the teasels that have taken over the wild flower strip we sowed last year – I have no idea what they were thinking but the supplier mixed in so many that they’re dwarfing everything else off! Apparently if we de-head them when they’re in flower and remove the heads away completely (they can still ripen off the plant, and there are thousands on a plant), then the plant will naturally die off. We have this issue for several years ahead of ourselves at the moment – so you live and learn :/

Anyway – the greenhouses are definitely in a rhythm – things from inside the house were moved to the greenhouse after being potted on, and they look much happier for it though, as I’ve said elsewhere, I’m a bit disappointed at the size of things in general.

Greenhouse 1

2015 june tomatoes

Plum Tomatoes & Eating Tomatoes

This is our tomato greenhouse. An army of ants had made their nest under the slabs running down the centre of the greenhouse, as they had done in Greenhouse 2 last year. As we did last year, we used boiling water as a nasty but effective way of dealing with them. I suspect they’re the same nest who are sending out ants to milk the greenfly on the poor neighbouring plum tree. We stopped that with a sticky glue band around the trunk (what can’t go up can’t go down), and the removal of the nest once found was the end of that problem, for now. On to potting on the tomatoes – six cooking plants and six eating plants – though six eating is far too few for my liking. Still – we tried cramming a third row in the middle last year and it became all too unwieldy. Last year was the first time we tried cooking tomatoes (plum) and they were delicious in sauces.

Greenhouse 2

2015 june sweet peppers

Sweet Peppers

This is our cucumber greenhouse and our potting bench also lives here – a neat collapsible metal bench that was donated along with the greenhouse by some friends in the village. The potting bench becomes a nursery bench for hardier plants, and once they’ve been moved outside it becomes the final home for the plants started off indoors. Here you can see the sweet peppers, which we use stuffed or in ratatouille.

2015 june basil


The basil we dry and use all year, it’s another of those plants that we personally can’t grow enough of. Freshly picked it’s delicious in a salad, or as a dressing with the tradational balsamic vinegar dressing over mozzarella and tomatoes dish. Dried it’s great in anything, especially pasta sauces. I just like eating it raw as a breath freshener!

2015 june cucumbers


Then we have our Telegraph Improved cucumbers – I’m determing to stay on top of them this year – in the past, without exception, they become unruly and all triffid-like, taking over the greenhouse to the extent you need to tip-toe around them to try and get to anything else!

2015 june globe artichokes

Globe Artichokes

Next along are the globe artichokes – which are outside during the day to harden off, and inside again at night. They’ll eventually have a permanent home in the patch, near the sunflowers, in the future. But not where the sunflowers have already been grown – I’ve heard you shouldn’t grow them where any member of the daisy family has been rgown previously – not sure why but I’m not going to find out the hard way!

2015 june celeriac 2


Then there’s the coriander – these are the seeds saved from plants we first grew two years ago. We sprinkled a load into a tray, to see what would happen, and I would say we ended up with a 50:50 germination rate, which wasn’t bad at all considering they’d been kept in the seed box all that time!

2015 june flowers

Sunflowers, Sweetcorn & French Marigolds

Outside is where the previous occupants are now living, before they find their permanent homes – whilst we have the sunflowers in the patch already in place, we tend to grow twice as many items where we can, so we can pick the healthiest and largest to grow on. This means we invariably have spares – here you can see the spare sunflowers, and spare sweetcorn (at the back). In the foreground we have the marigolds which will be used a companion plant in the vegetable patch, namely near the brassicas as they deter whitefly!

2015 june lettuce

Rescued Lettuce

We also have a few pots of lettuce outside – rescued from one of those trays you buy from the supermarket that Suz’s mother brought to the house a few weeks ago, the sort you buy live and cut the leaves off as you need them. Rather than throw away the cut plugs, I just repotted them and now we have seven baby lettuce plants for free! The parsely we’ve bought in, and the lone sunflower was a freebie for buying so much compost from the local nursery! Coals to Newcastle springs to mind 😉

Greenhouse 3

2015 june aubergines


This is our new greenhouse, and is home to the aubergines. We’ve had moderate success in the past with these, and utter failure other years. This greenhouse gets full sun most of the day, so I’m hoping the warmer conditions are more conducive to a bumper crop! That reminds me of another job – I need to anchor this greenhouse down to the concrete base as we’ve moved it from where it was. Where it was is now a lilac tree and will have lavender bushes around it, to attract the bees and give us something to be wary of as we brush past it to and from the patch on the brick path! I’ve just realise that this is *not* our new greenhouse – it is in fact the garden path! I’ll add a photo of the new greenhouse once I take one 😀


Greenhouse Sowing Seeds & Brassica Update

BroccoliA grubby, wet, windy weekend meant time to head to the greenhouse. At least sowing seed trays can be done under cover!

The brassicas Jay had sown the weekend before were already showing themselves – fantastic! We’d moved them from inside to the greenhouse as they can tolerate the slightly cooler temperatures outside, inside their propogators which are, in turn, inside a greenhouse.

Today was the turn of the less cold tolerant seed:

  • Marmande  and San Marzano 2 tomatoes – an eater and a cooker, enough seeds for twelve plants each, from which we’ll pick the healthiest and strongest six each (although I can never resist and usually try and find homes for the weaker ones too, as I love tomatoes!).
  • Telegraph Improved cucumbers – enough for six of those too.
  • (Sweet) Colour Spectrum peppers – we had the pack lying around, never tried them, but don’t like wasting seeds!
  • Black Beauty aubergine – again, six of those, to fill greenhouse no.3 🙂

As all of the above are destined for greenhouses, we start them off indoors until mid May, then move them to the greenhouses once the weather is milder. At the moment they’re tiny trays of compost sat by the windows in the dining room. In six weeks time we’ll be wading through foliage to get to the dining table, and will be glad to move them to the greenhouses!

Planting Plan 2015

As our experience grows, our Patch planting plan gets more detailed. This year we’ve expanded to three greenhouses, and it would be rude not to make use of them all. The new raised bed last year was great, especially for the carrots which were most definitely carrot-fly-free – turns out the little critters really are too lazy to fly that extra foot off the ground for dinner! However, I’ve decided to create a more accurate and detailed planting plan, including spacings, for this year. Is there any such thing as senile OCD?

So, I give you the Merrybower Patch Planting Plans for 2015…(drum roll please):

PS the grid scale is 1ft

Greenhouse No.1 Plan 2015Greenhouse No.1

This sees only two tomato varieties, both from the Franchi seed collection of Italy. Marmande is one of our favourites – an ugly beef tomato with the tastiest, juiciest flesh, wrapped in a skin so delicate you can hardly tell it’s there when biting into one! We’re also trying out a different plum tomato, for cooking with. Last year’s Roma VF were great, but these San Marzano 2 are meant to be brilliant of or passata, and I have fond memories of the smell of slowly simmering tomatoes from childhood in Naples. Pure heaven!

Greenhouse No.2 Plan 2015Greenhouse No.2

As this is the greenhouse with the potting bench in, we stick to cucumbers on the floor to the left, our tried and tested Telegraph Improved, and on the bench, once all seedlings have been transplanted outdoors, we’ll have sweet peppers (a non-descript variety as we’re using a lot of left-over seeds from last year this year), and a lot of basil, which we dry and use over the year. We’ll also pop a couple of coriander plants in too, as we have tonnes of seed from a couple of years ago!

Greenhouse No.3 Plan 2015Greenhouse No.3

This is a simple one – six Black Beauty aubergine plants. I’ve struggled for two years with aubergines, too cold I think is the biggest problem, and not enough growing space. Now they’ll have their own greenhouse, so they’d better not complain!

Raised Bed Plan 2015Raised Bed

This is essentially our outdoor salad bed. As last year, we have Royal Chantenay 3 carrots, an early variety but one we were still picking in December and they were HUGE! We’ll sow thinly between the carrot rows Sparkler 3 radish – I’m not a huge fan of radish, I can’t get excited about them, but if anyone has any suggestions please do let me know! Then we have a bed of pick and come again Appollo spinach, a bed of pick and come again Mist. di Lattughe lettuce, two rows of wild rocket and a couple of rows of traditional lettuce – Lobjoits Green Cos and Webbs Wonderful.

Main Vegetable Beds

Vegetable Beds Plan 2015Then we come to our main source of back pain and delight, a bitter sweet relationship if ever there was one.

Starting from the left we have our asparagus bed, which is seeing a small expansion in the number of plants. Of the original 12 only six remain – the wet winter a couple of years ago killed some off. This year we’re building the soil level up and raising four ridges, similar to potato ridges. We’re then getting 36 plants in, spaced tighter but within recommended distances. Then we have our sunflowers – Giant Single this year, although I suspect we’ll have some self-setters from seed dropped over winter by clumsy birds! Then we have French Bonita mixed Marigolds, once matured we’ll plant these around th the allotment as companion plants. And finally we have Nasturtiums – I haven’t bothered buying any as these definitely self-seed!

Our squash/root bed sees some old and new friends this year. Incredible F1 sweetcorn has proved reliable over a few years now so deserves to be in there. As do the Butternut Rugosa and Tonda Padana, a butternut and winter squash from the he Franchi range. We finished the stored Rugosa two weeks ago, early March, and we still have one more Tonda Padana on the shelf! We’re not bothering with traditional pumpkins this year as two years on the trot have been disastrous. Instead, once again we turn to the Franchi range for some Berrettia Piacentina winter squash – lovely blue/green squash with an orange flesh. Two types of courgette this year, from the same range; the UFO-shaped Custard White and the dark Nero di Milano. I like the Franchi range as they’re heritage varieties with some fantastic flavours. Finally, the roots are old friends – Flyaway carrots, Hollow Crown parsnips (old variety with a lot of of taste), and Boltardy beetroot.

The main contingent of the allium bed are Stur BC onions, a good storer. Then we have Karmen red onions, another decent storer, Picasso shallots for pickling, Christo garlic, which we haven’t tried before, and White Lisbon spring onions. For variety we have one row divided between Groene Pascal celery, Monarch celeriac and Helenor swedes. Lastly, one row of Lyon Prizetaker leeks.

The spud patch is easy and simple this year – 1st earlies are Swift, the earliest variety. 2nd earlies are Charlotte, lovely waxy texture. Main crops are King Edwards, and Valour, the latter being a great all rounder boiler, masher, roaster, baker.

The legume patch – we’ve decided we quite like any plant that grows to meet your hands, rather than make you bend to pick it! To this end we have two wigwams a each of Enorma runner beans, and do Sultana climbing French beans.  For the broadbeans we have the familiar Masterpiece Green Longpod, and peas we have two rows of Kelvedon Wonder, an early sweet variety, and one row of Onward main crop.

Finally the brassicas. Funky pointy Romanesco Precoce winter/spring cauliflowers, reliable All the Year Round summer cauliflowers, Green Magic F1 broccolli, Evesham Special brussels sprout, January King 3 winter savoy cabbage, Golden Acre Primo III summer/autumn cabbage and Offenham 2 – Flower of Spring spring cabbage.

That’s about it! We just have to plant them now!

The Best Tomatoes

2014 TomatoesThis year I think we’ve cracked the tomato business. We’ve tried Marmande before, a beef tomato, and liked them. They can be exceptionally ugly, amd grow to various sizes, despite being a beef variety we have small to huge on our plants. But despite their inconsistencies, this year we grew eight plants-worth, because at the end of the day, they are delicious. They are so juicy, their flesh is firm enough to hold their shape, yet melts in the mouth, and their skins are just tight enough to prevent their innards popping out, but give when you bite into them, with none of the toughness other varieties have. Personally for me, this is a perfect tomato.

Then we have the other new variety this year – a plum tomato by the name of Roma VF. Absolutely dry as anything when eaten raw, but cook with it and you discover an intense tomato flavour, perfect for sauces and drying. In fact, this year we filled an oven with these, cut in half, and dried them over 16 hours on a low heat. Dropped into jars of olive oil, mixed with fresh or dried herbs and chopped garlic, they keep for around two weeks. Be careful to completely cover with oil – else the bits poking out will go nouldy (we learned the hard way and lost a couple of jars – disaster!)

I need to add – this photograph has not been doctored in any way – they are the actual colours!

Roma VF Tomatoes

We’ve tried a few varieties of tomatoes here at Merrybower, but never a cooking tomato. This year we’ve planted eight Roma VF plum tomatoes in a greenhouse, just to see what would happen. Well, it’s been the perfect year for tomato growing! The heat has meant longer days of warmth, although water was soaked up so quickly that some days they needed watering three times!

They are pretty disgusting raw – dry, fleshy, no juice and tough skins. However, halved and cooked on a low (100C) heat for 16 or so hours and they make perfect oven-dried tomatoes. Mixed with olive oil, garlic slices and mixed herbs in a jar and they are delicious!

June Update


What can I say?! The weather has been absolutely fantastic! Mostly sun, the odd shower here and there, then back to sun. Everything is growing as it should be – no late frost to nobble the early starters, no waterlogging, no drought. To be honest, it’s getting a bit scary.

So, to firmly plant the goodness that has been the last month, here’s a quick update on just how well everything’s growing.