May in the Garden
April has passed and the ground has been drinking rain that it went without during February and March. We had almost two inches of rain in two days, which was double what we had throughout the whole of the previous two months. This has meant shallots under water and streams running through the garden, making it difficult to make much planting progress. Just three or four days of sunshine will dry it out enough to get back on with cultivating and planting.
We have been making a start clearing the polytunnels and planting the French beans, tomatoes and cucumbers, which has meant a transition to our outdoor salad. I enjoy this time of the year when the plants that are coming to the end of their lives are pulled up and composted, then the compost from last year is put onto the soil and planted with the summer crops. Planting tomatoes always takes me back to my childhood; their smell is so nostalgic that as soon as we start pricking out the seedlings I am reminded of growing up on my parents’ nursery. Opening the polytunnel on a sunny morning has the same effect.
The propagating tunnel is still full of seedlings, and the squash and courgettes have just been sown, as have the sweetcorn. All of these will be ready to plant out by the end of May when the risk of frost should have passed.
May is always an extremely busy month as sowing continues in the propagating tunnel, but planting should be in full swing as all of the summer tunnel crops are planted at the beginning of the month and lots of the tender vegetables planted at the end of the month, with everything else between.
Our next harvest will be of wet garlic, which is always a real treat. It has a much milder, sweeter taste than dry garlic and can be used raw, as you would a spring onion. We have been having a few small ones ourselves; they go particularly well with spring greens.