Monday, 22 February 2010

POTTERING IN THE POTAGER (column)

Craig: please stick our small logo – the bunch of herbs – in the
bottom right hand corner.
POTTERING IN THE POTAGER

By Lynnaire Johnston

Despite the very late appearance of summer, the potager's brassicas
are bolting. Jason Ross informs me that inconsistent or lack of water
is the most likely culprit. My basils, too, despite greenhouse
nurturing have been dismal thanks to the lack of heat and the tomatoes
are very late ripening. Instead of growing them in pots, next year I
am going to try black plastic grow bags to see if that helps their
less-than-startling prolificacy.

The late burst of summer has brought with it plenty of unwelcome pests
to infiltrate the brassicas. A blast of warm, soapy water seems to
make them uncomfortable enough to decamp but only temporarily. Also
making an unwelcome appearance now that the red hot pokers are in
blooming, are the wasps. But at least the birds, too, are enjoying the
polkas.

The kale is doing splendidly which is very pleasing, because
stir-fried in sizzling sesame oil, fresh kale is one of winter's
pleasures and when fresh from the garden so very good for you.

My small (Warehouse-purchased to my shame) worm bin is producing
nicely after a slow start and I'm about to double its size because the
one bin cannot keep up with all the organic refuse exiting my kitchen.
I've acquired an old wringer washing machine tub, which I'm about to
put up on bricks in a shady spot in which my little wrigglies can go
mad. Each fortnight I empty out the "tea" that accumulates in the
bottom of my bin and dilute it before spreading it around my
vegetables. (Recently, I had septic tank trouble and the surrounding
soil had to be dug out. I shoved it around the rhubarb with
startlingly prolific results! I also discovered where my entire garden
worm population had got to!)

In the next few weeks I'm going to get more over-wintering brassicas
planted and the ODT informs me that I still have time to get onion
seed in. All I need are more sunny days in which to get it done before
winter sets in.

Column sponsored by The Village Potager, open daily on the corner of
Foyle St and Doctors Point Rd for preserves, plants (principally
herbs) and produce. Phone 482 1364.

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