The allotment has been completely sodden with water all winter, and with no sign of the garlic I planted in November coming up, I decided there was a pretty high chance that it had simply rotted away in the wet ground. I’ve never had a problem before, but we’ve never had the plot so completely saturated with water before. It hasn’t flooded like a lot of people’s (apart from the compost trenches we’d dug which isn’t very surprising), but the ground is very wet nonetheless.
So, I decided it would be worth buying some more for sowing in modules and putting into my coldframe at home. This is Picardy Wight, pushed into modules of compost with some grit at the bottom for drainage, and an extra topping of grit. Not sure why the topping, but Carol Klein seems to put grit on the top of everything, and maybe it will deter any birds pulling them out.
Another overwintering disaster is my broad beans. They germinated fine, but some pesky slug or snail has obviously been having a nice time hiding out in my coldframe over winter, keeping warm and eating some lovely tender broad bean shoots. Lovely. So I will have to start again with these.
We finally managed to get ourselves down to the plot on Saturday. We decided not to be a couple of wusses and brave the mud in order to harvest some leeks and parsnips. The most we’ve done over winter is to take a small detour on our dog walking duties to just stand on the path and check all is okay (i.e the shed hasn’t been vandalised or blown over).
We harvested the remains from the leek bed, and managed to excavate a few parsnips from the thick black mud. The leeks haven’t been nearly as good this year. I normally do very well with this crop, producing some large, thick stemmed leeks which last me well into March or April. But they’re a bit pathetic looking this year, and so we decided to just clear the bed and use them up. They range from the odd giant one, down to tiny baby ones that seem to have grown as a little cluster in one hole, all joined together at the base. It’s like one leek has ‘split’ similar to how a garlic head would into individual cloves. How odd, I’ve never had that happen before.
I made a salmon and leek pie on Saturday, and added them to an onion gravy on Sunday. No doubt I’ll be eating lots of soup over the next few weeks.
Before leaving I checked on the bed where I’d planted the garlic. No – still nothing there. Then I spotted something. Is that a shoot? John couldn’t see anything. I crouched down for a closer inspection and touched it. Yes, I think that might be a garlic shoot, and there’s another one, and look – another one. And what do you know, there’s actually 2 rows of tiny, tiny dark green shoots that are barely visible. They were there all along, we just weren’t looking hard enough.