One doth not a summer make, but I was delighted to see my first Swallow of the year this afternoon flying just behind the cottage. Confused? It will be tomorrow when the temperature plunges to 6° during the day, and sub zero overnight, it will wish that it had delayed its passage from Africa for a week or two. I’m every bit as confused – for the first half of last week I was working outside in a T-shirt; by Friday it was two coats colder. I managed to get the first early potatoes planted, and they are safe enough below the surface of the soil. I held off planting out some brassicas and lettuce, but they are raring to go, so I will get them in and give them a fleece cover to protect them until it warms up again. The lettuce, kohl rabi and broad beans that I planted in the polytunnel last Monday should be afforded enough protection from the frost by the thin film of plastic over them that creates its own microclimate.
Muck spreading was the other job that I concentrated on last week, covering the whole of the brassica bed with well rotted cow manure from a farm just up the road, and then turning it in. I would like to be able to make enough on-farm compost to feed the beds, but I just can’t create enough. What I do make is mostly used in the greenhouse and the polytunnel.
I had my follow-up appointment with the orthopaedic doctor last Tuesday following the MRI scan of my knee the week before. The good news is that I do not need surgery – not least because the outcome following it doesn’t tend to be that positive for people of my age! Well that’s what the handsome 12 year old doctor told me. I have a very small tear to the meniscus, and my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is stretched, which is what is causing me so much discomfort. The solution is rest (yeah right!), and physiotherapy to build up the muscles surrounding the joint to support it. I will do the exercises and hobble on through the pain. I actually manage alright at work mostly – after a fashion, but funnily enough it’s walking, you know, like going for a walk, that I find I am unable to do at the moment.
Thank you thank you, I received a top notch homemade hot cross bun on Friday, and on Saturday I was presented with……wait for it…..a hot cross loaf! It was a thing of beauty, and very tasty too. What wonderful customers I have. I’m not sure when I can next expect any tasty treats; are May Day muffins a thing? Or summer solstice scones? I can’t wait, I know that you won’t disappoint.
Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves, back to the here and now. There will be more lovely purple sprouting broccoli this week, fabulous Swiss chard, and spring greens – but they really are very limited this week, so order early if you want any, there won’t be enough for everyone. Onions, red onions, parsnips, beetroot, swede, carrots, Cara potatoes, sweet potatoes, red cabbage, garlic, ginger, turmeric and chives complete the vegetable offering. There are Gala apples, kiwi fruit, lemons and blood oranges. The oranges are not ‘keepers’, at this stage of their season, so please consume them promptly if you do buy any. We are now down to the lip smacking dry apple juice now, of which there is plenty – in fact I’ve still got about 400 bottles still to collect.
The farmers’ market at Wyken goes from strength to strength, with more and diverse stallholders than ever before offering a fantastic range of produce. The draw of the Moonshine Café with its wonderful wood fired pizzas provides an incentive to tarry awhile after making your market purchases, and the Leaping Hare Country Store is open again for those luxuries that you just can’t do without. See you on Saturday.
As it’s Easter Sunday I’m going to bring this to a conclusion as I have better things to do with my time.
Please remember to pay your bill, and to place your order by Tuesday evening – one or two are getting sloppy again; consider your wrists slapped!
Have a good week, wrap up warm for your socially distanced garden rendezvous.