Harvesting broad beans and garlic

I remember taking photos of tiny shoots of garlic poking through the snow back in that awful winter than still makes me shudder.

It looked so vulnerable and delicate against everything that winter threw at it.  Yet it and its fellow garlic plants have not only survived the winter, they have grown into fabulously strong healthy huge garlic plants, every bit as big at the original bulb that I held in my hand prior to splitting it and planting the cloves in the ground.

I also picked my first broad beans, with the promise of grilled gammon steaks, new potatoes and broad beans for dinner that night.

Because these were the first things I planted last autumn, it felt a bit like Christmas day looking at a beautiful present, full of excitement and expectation.

All I could see was the broad bean pod and the stem of garlic, not a bean or garlic bulb in sight.  Would be pod be empty and the garlic tiny?

The guys from Access had come to video this moment and talk about how I felt now the plants were coming to fruition.  But I wasn’t disappointed.  Our dinner was delicious and the garlic is now on the shelf in my mini greenhouse drying out before I store it to use.  I feel home made garlic bread with the next barbecue coming on.

The small bed that contained Kale, spring cabbage and red onions now looks a bit sparse.  The kale and cabbage have been eaten by us and the chickens.  You could almost taste the ‘iron’ – not in a bad way but in a ‘you know this is doing you good’ kind of way.  My Grandma would have said ‘that will put hairs on your chest!!’  I remember thinking as a child ‘but I don’t want hairs on my chest’!  But I knew what she was trying to say.

I’m not sure when the red onions are ready.  They look smaller than I thought they would, and the stems have flopped over.  Is this right?  Do you know?  I feel I need to phone a friend or ask the audience!

This bed is going to be my beautiful herb bed next.  I am hoping to see Jekka McVicar at Hampton Court Flower show to take inspiration from her display of herbs and hopefully bring home some plants, or at least a catalogue to browse through with a coffee.

I am also planning on more food for the chickens through this winter to keep them healthy.  Kale is a ‘super food’ as it contains so many vitamins and minerals.  Good for us and them.  More cabbage and root veg I think.

And strawberries – on a bigger scale – to give us a steady crop over the spring summer weeks I’m thinking.  To pick a handful of sweet warm juicy strawberries and munch on them as I walk around the garden has given me immeasurable pleasure this year.  Add to that a glass of cold Jacques cider in the other hand and I’ve got it made!

Less than 2 weeks until Hampton Court Flower Show.  Lets hope the weather stays hot and dry.

Have a good weekend with lots of sun screen and cold beer for the World Cup.