I’m just about fed up of this horrible wind. No I’ve been fed up of it for days. It has been relentless – vicious, chilly, often moisture laden. It would be nice to have some nice calm days with warm sunshine on one’s back, but there is little prospect of that in the next couple of weeks according to the Met Office forecast. I am not inclined to start any outdoor planting with the soil so cold and with a damaging wind. Looking at the bigger picture I don’t think that it will make a lot of difference, plants grow best when the conditions are right, and later plantings will thrive better, and overtake those put in by the calendar rather than the conditions. This week’s main photo shows the fingerpost in Birdbrook felled by the wicked wind, there’s something very ‘Easter’ about it with the cross and the daffodils….or is it just me?

I used the new trailer early last week to collect a load of 3 year old composted woodchips from the woodland. I felt like a proper farmer heading off into the woods, reversing the trailer up to the woodchip heap, loading it and driving back to the area behind the garden and tipping it; if I were a smoker I would have lit up a big fat Havana cigar as the black gold slid down the body of the trailer.

I have a pet hen Pheasant. She pops out from under the Beech hedge when I arrive in the van and waits by the potting shed door to be fed. There is a big bouquet of them, but she is the only one bold enough to come close to get a feed, the others are more skittish, hanging around beneath the bird feeder, but scurrying off as soon as I get anywhere near. I reckon she will get as fat as a butterball, but she’s very sweet so I can’t resist indulging her. I haven’t given her a pet name yet, so any ideas will be considered. Yes, bouquet is a collective noun for pheasants, as is covey, nide and nye.

Lots of stuff in the shop is limited this week, it’s just that time of the year when produce is in short supply. Please be prepared to have your order reduced in size if you select multiples of items which fall into this category; these include spring greens, curly kale, red onions, gal and sweet potatoes. If there is sufficient stock to fulfil your requirements you will of course receive what you have requested. There will be courgettes, carrots, parsnips, beetroot, swede, red cabbage, mushrooms, onions, garlic, ginger and turmeric. Gala apples, kiwi fruit, lemons and blood oranges are your fruit choices. I think that this will be the last week of blood oranges, it is the tail end of the season and they are on the edge in terms of keeping potential – if you have any that have gone over the edge please let me know; they are sound when they go into the boxes – honest guv.

Look don’t get too excited, but if not next week the week after will herald the short but very sweet wild garlic pesto season. I walked to the woodland glade this morning to inspect the progress of this seasonal delight, the leaves have emerged but are very small, so I will wait until they have made a little more growth before scalping them. A month of wild garlicky heaven will follow, leading nicely in to the start of the asparagus season. What treats Pip I hear you utter.

I would like some feedback from you on a potential new product. The son-in-law of a customer has recently started an enterprise making organic ‘black garlic’. Black garlic is regular white garlic that has been aged through a process of fermentation. It is soft and savoury yet very sweet. It is high in antioxidants and has many health benefits. It is used in both sweet and savoury dishes and has a sweet, tangy taste, similar to balsamic vinegar and figs. It’s an ingredient that is very popular with chefs and foodies – not cheap, but something different. I am considering stocking Giuseppi’s black garlic, but would like to guage the level of interest from you before committing, so please let me know what you think.

Okey dokey, that’s me done, I’m off. Have a great week, I hope that the mothers amongst you have been spoiled today, and that you have spared a thought for your own Ma – where would we be without them?

Phil

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