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There is no such thing as bad weather

"Summer is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces up, snow is exhilarating; there is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather." - John Ruskin

The weather over the last couple of weeks has been very mixed, but no snow thank goodness. The rain has been great for the slugs, who have got very fat eating our plants. Volunteers have been popping into the garden when they can, mainly to weed and deadhead. I’ve been cutting back the herbs and lavender now that they have flowered. This way they will grow new leaves and get strong before the colder weather.

Our sunflowers are flowering well. They are a great way to brighten up the garden. Particularly those growing against the wall. Not only do they look like the sun, but they love it too. They grow best in a sunny position. And their leaves and buds follow the direction of the sun as it moves in the sky.

Our perfumed roses have been flowering well against the wall too.

In the veg garden we have been picking beans, pulling carrots, chard and spring onions, eating salad leaves and spinach. The peas have finished, so I have started sowing swedes in their place, ready for the winter. We’ve already been talking about having them for Burns Night in January, so I hope they grow big enough. I’ve been thinning out the leeks ready for the winter too. Anyone want any baby leeks to plant at home?

I’ve been enjoying our carrots fresh from the garden. We grow multi coloured ones, just for a change. Did you know that most carrots were originally purple? There were less-grown yellow and white varieties too. Then Dutch growers experimented with them about 400 years ago and produced the orange ones that we know today.

At home I have been growing winter greens from seed ready to plant out when other veg in the garden finish. But between the butterflies and their caterpillars and the slugs, they are getting eaten. Slugs seem to find the curly kale the most delicious and the butterflies like spring greens best.

The cardoons have started growing the thistle-like flowers that they produce. I was expecting them to grow to about 6 foot though and they are only about 2 foot high. I’m not sure whether to grow them for their flowers or as a vegetable at the moment. I’m waiting to see what the thistle looks like. Bees are supposed to really like them.

A few of us, as part of our Incredible Edible Runcorn role, went to Runcorn station last week to plant up some veg in the rain. The staff there were very welcoming. They let us have a hot drink in the 1st Class lounge. Meanwhile Ian from Incredible Edible Education made up two wooden planters either side of the entrance while we waited. We filled them with compost and then planted a selection of veg and herbs that we had been growing in the yard. So if you are getting a train can you check the plants for us please. Pull any weeds up, and let us know if anything needs placing, as things die off.

The Blooming Old Gardener

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