The veggie beds are ready for the onslaught

Leaf lettuce and radish.

Leaf lettuce and radish.

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We’ve been preparing the vegetable beds in anticipation of planting and sowing.

Those who grew onions, leeks and potatoes last year have been lightly covered with Dolomite limestone in anticipation of brassica crops (sprouts, cabbage, broccoli) this year. Meanwhile, the organic content of beds about to support heavy-feeders has been topped-up. Potatoes, onions, leeks, courgettes and members of the pumpkin clan do well in such soil. There are high hopes of harvesting asparagus spears this year.

Last spring, 18 one-year-old crowns covering three varieties were planted and they developed strongly.

The surface mulch recently laid can only increase the prospect of thick, succulent shoots for the kitchen.

The fern-like foliage allowed to develop from mid-June onwards is a super addition to the garden.

In a week or so, we’ll start the first seeds outdoors and cover them with fleece or a long, plastic dome, either of which needs pegging to the ground. Mixed varieties of leaf lettuce are first up for their sheer value. They’re harvested with scissors on a cut-and-come-again basis, initially as micro-leaves a mere three weeks after sowing given decent weather.

The other must-have early salad crop is radish, French Breakfast for preference. Meanwhile, a leaf lettuce crop in the greenhouse border makes a useful stop-gap.

A combination of young potted vegetable plants, sprouting potatoes, strawberries and assorted ornamentals, has created a near log-jam under glass already. Some will be on the move outdoors shortly, only to be replaced by newcomers, but this is typical of the spring threshold.