This has been the spring of my discontent.

We have had storm after storm after storm.  When it wasn’t raining, it was blowing a gale and either way gardening was impossible.  Add that to being knocked out for a good three weeks to ill health and the garden is way behind schedule.  The last frost day is in about ten days and I am not ready!  Whose idea was it to have such a large garden? – Oh yeah… it was mine. 

How do I turn this into bread?
How do I turn this into bread?

The sun has begun shining again and the wind has died down, but you really never know for how long so all you can do is get out there and work like a crazy person.  I have been digging and weeding and making hay while the sun shines.  Well technically not hay, but I have almost harvested all my wheat to dry and use as a straw mulch.  The thing is, I have left it so long I actually have wheat.  It is still green, and if I didn’t need the bed then I would leave it there and have wheat to … I dunno… make bread?  I don’t think there is enough – maybe a very small flatbread?!

I planted out the new brassicas in the bed beside the old ones and then thought I’d better pull the old ones out as they were all beginning to flower.  The goats loved the surprize treat.  But I couldn’t linger long watching the goats munch down of flowery kale, there was still loads to do and the sun was still shining.

The old and the new
The old and the new

I dug over the salad garden and enriched the soil and popped the mixed lettuces in as they were getting too big for their pots and making me feel really guilty.  But they weren’t the only plants growing too big and so I spent a lovely couple of hours in the greenhouse transplanting all my pumpkins, squash and cucumbers into larger pots and put them on the shelves.  But then I realised I had a bit of a problem.  The only reason there was room on the shelves was because most of the other plants were outside, sunning themselves while they harden up.  So I had to do some complicated rearranging to make everything fit back in.  But there are still more plants that need bigger pots.  I need to find more shelving pretty soon or I shall be knee deep in plants across the floor of the greenhouse.

I have harvest loads today as well – although most of it was a bit of a necessity.  I turned my back on the asparagus for a couple of days and ended up with a forest! The globe artichokes were all just getting fatter and fatter and if I didn’t do something then they would have gone past their best so I chopped all their heads off.  Now I have to do something with them!

The chives are flowering and they look so pretty
The chives are flowering and they look so pretty

The beetroot and parsnip had to come out as the salad needed to go in.  Some of them were still too little to eat so I moved them over to the next bed where they may or may not grow, but if you don’t try then all you have is compost fodder.

The fennel needed to come out and we had it roasted for dinner tonight and it was yummy.  But I didn’t know fennel was perennial.  The plant was left in all winter as the insects seemed to like its flowery seed heads, and then all these new shoots had come up from the base and were bulbing up.  It seemed a shame to rip it up, but I needed the space and boy did it put up a fight.  It had a massive root structure.

Everlasting fennel - What a lovely surprize
Everlasting fennel – What a lovely surprize

I have decided basil is not a perennial as the thick sturdy plants that I trimmed back in the autumn to see if they would survive and come back in the spring, won’t be coming back.  They are brown and crispy and by my definition that is dead.  The winter was really mild too, so if they were to survive this would have been the winter for it.

Another cool thing I’m doing is comparing chilli plants with ones growing on the other side of the world.  Elaine at  Thelandroverownerswife has planted a chilli to overwinter in England and it would seem that she planted them at about the same time as I planted mine as it looks to be the same size.  So we are going to see how the similar plants fare as the season’s progress.  It isn’t a proper experiment – more of an observation –  as the seeds aren’t the same, and neither are the growing conditions, but I think it will be interesting and a bit of fun.

The Global Chilli
The Global Chilli

But for now I need to go and rest my weary bones as tomorrow is supposed to be another great day for gardening and I’m just the person to do it!

Come again soon – hopefully the manic spring will settle down soon.

Sarah the Gardener  :  o )


17 thoughts on “This has been the spring of my discontent.

    1. Hi Claire. I couldn’t believe how big those fennel roots got, and not just deep, but they were fat as well, they were almost fatter than some of the parsnips I pulled up! Shame you can’t eat them…. or can you?
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  1. It’s looking great! I did have to laugh at the end of one of your sentences, “so I chopped all their heads off.” It made me think of that line from Alice in Wonderland, “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!” Hahaha! Glad you’re getting some good gardening days.

    1. Hi Keith. It did feel a bit brutal to go in there and just chop the artichokes off. But the problem is now I have to process them. Which can be a little time consuming, but I may need to fit it in somewhere between the tea parties and the flamingo croquet!
      I have had two lovely sunny days in the garden in a row and am making great progress.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  2. It has been crazy hasn’t it. We have spent October in rain where most of winter wasn’t all that flash for the watery precipitation stuff. Most of Australia is sweltering and on fire and we are raining! Sometimes it seems like we live in another country altogether ;). Love the gardening yields but it always makes me feel extremely guilty to read your posts. We no sooner get a few days where our garden soil almost dries out enough to dig a hole (without it backfilling with water) and sink our poles in to concrete than it rains again. I guess them’s the breaks and you just have to wait it out sometimes. I don’t do “wait” well ;).

    1. Hi Fran. This spring has been awful. It has been so hard to sit by on stormy days and watch nothing grow. So I understand your frustration. Surely it can’t rain forever?! Soon enough you will be out there holding a large pole and Steve will be shouting things at you like “a little bit to the left.” Once you get it built and built well – not thrust together hastily on a rainy day, you will have an awesome place to grow stuff for years to come. It will be great and worth the wait. In the meantime I hope you are collecting some of that rain for later use. Did you know in some parts of America it is illegal to collect rain water. Apparently it belongs to the state! Cheers Sarah : o )

      1. In between showers I have been furiously beavering away mulching the rest of the garden (ornamental bits) as the rest of Aus is having a terrible time of it and no doubt when summer hits it will do what it did last year and stretch well into autumns time. I think the seasons have caterpillared themselves along a bit now and Summer starts here a bit later ;). The things that Steve will be shouting at me when I hold those poles can’t be reproduced on a PG rated blog ;). Can’t wait to get my fists back into that soil and there are some crazy things that Americans do to each other…”no chooks”, “no veggies in the front garden!”, “must have permission from the whole street before you can do anything”…another reason I am glad to be living here in rural Tassie where no-one cares what you do 😉

  3. Oh it makes me laugh. I seem to be at the same place as you so often down here in sunny/ frosty Hawkes Bay. Day before yesterday I decided the fennel had to go as I needed the space and I also didn’t realise that it was perrenial. Roasted fennel for tea, yum, my teenagers think they have a really hard life being fed strange vegetables and homemade bread!

    1. Hi Alison. Our kids also have to eat “weird” food. We have adopted the concept of not cooking with processed food. We aren’t strict about it as for celebrations and such we’ll have the chippies and stuff, but on a day to day basis it is all made from scratch good food. It is hard when you are tired and just want to heat something up, but for the most part it is great because you know it is healthy. Each meal the kids play a game called whats from the garden and take turns looking at their plate and trying to guess.
      I only found out fennel was a perennial when I didn’t dig it up and it came back. But it is easy enough to grow as an annual without taking up precious space in the garden all year long. All the best with your garden this season.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  4. What a busy bee you’ve been. I hope you found time for a long, hot, soak. Your garden is looking great and the Mudlets love the idea that there is a chilli plant the other side of the world with their name on it 🙂

    1. HI Elaine. I thought I’d better label it so I would remember which one it is when I put it in the garden.
      There was something in my new updated header for the girls too. Joey was in the background digging away but Tim was in the photo twice! Hes the one in a black shirt. So you should be able to find 3 kids – but there are actually only two!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

      1. Lol, I finally remembered to show the Mudelts the picture this morning and they spotted ‘3’ boys and then realised that one of them was actually the same person. I then had to explain about how panoramic photo’s worked and they were suitably impressed by Tims’ ingenuity and speed 🙂

  5. I can sympathise, we have been the same here. A crazy few months weather wise, healthwise and personally BUT we get there in the end 🙂 I am fortunate to have a hubby who has way more energy than myself and who is our official gardener, I am the weeder. He’s been out there all hours catching up on things.

    1. Hi Wendy. I’m glad to hear you are getting back on track. This spring has been hard in more ways than just the weather. You are lucky to have a keen gardener, Hubby the Un-Gardener doesn’t like gardening at all, however he will dig on demand if I need him to, I just need to tell him where and when I need it by. We have had two lovely days in a row so I have managed to achieve a lot and it is starting to seem more manageable. Cheers Sarah : o )

  6. Can you share your fennel roast recipe pls? I’ve got them in the garden and I’ve no idea what to do with them except they look pretty and ferny and smells good and all that…
    Btw, hows your peach and nectarine trees holding up to leaf curl? My supposingly healthy orchard peach curled up after last weeks extended wet weather.

    1. Hi Justin. I just put the fennel in with some chicken we were roasting. They were a bit on the thin side so the outer leaves were a bit crispy, the the inside was sweet and tender and delicious. Other than that I normally slice it thinly and put it on paper baked fish with lemon and it is really great too.
      The peaches seem to be ok – although the leaves are a little crispy with wind burn, but there are loads of tiny peaches. The nectarines on the other hand have the curl. I need to find time to pluck all the manky leaves off before there are too many. But there are some nectarines which is good – last year we got six!. This spring has been really harsh. Cheers Sarah : o )

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