The Owl and The Pussy Cat

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea In a beautiful 'red and white'(!) boat, They took some honey, and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five pound note. The Owl looked up to the stars above, And sang to a small guitar, 'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love, What a beautiful Pussy you are, You are, You are!What a beautiful Pussy you are!'

Edward Lear

Sunday, 16 June 2013

A bit more chard and other gardening notes

One more ramble about chard before I move on. I know I've written about it a lot, but if you grow your own stuff then life is like that, chard for weeks on end, then beans for weeks on end, then courgettes, etc etc. I love seasonality and wouldn't dream of buying courgettes in winter or kale in the summer. My favourite chard of all is rainbow chard. It is not only easy and productive but it looks really pretty as well. I didn't get good germination on my rainbow chard last year, I think the seed was old, but a few plants made it through the winter so I've left the colourful ones to flower and set seed and I will scatter the seed about in the hope that I will end up with a selection of colourful plants in amongst my home saved seed.
The last few rainbow chard running o seed

Wonderful splashes of colour
 And so on to radish.
 A friend gave me some winter radish seeds last year which I sowed in the autumn, but it was so cold that only a few ended up large enough to eat. The rest I left to flower because radish produce these great little pods which, if picked while still small and green, can be added to salads. They are lovely and crunchy and have a slightly, well, radishey taste. They aren't as fiery as radish so are particularly good if you find radish a little hot as I do. The flowers are also great for bees and I expect, although I haven't tried them, that the flowers would be good in salads too.
Crunchy radish pods
And finally a planting tip.

Before planting anything out (this applies equally to flowers, veg, shrubs etc) always soak the plants well beforehand. By soak I don't mean just pour a bit of water over them, I mean actually submerge the whole root ball in water for several hours, and if they are dry to start with then overnight is not too long.  Any more than overnight and you will start to do more harm than good and actually kill off the roots.
My allotment is several miles away and there is no water except what I collect in water butts. I plant things out, water them in and then they are often on their own for several days, I rarely lose plants from drought. When I garden for other people the same often applies as I can't always rely on people to water things when I'm not there.

Bean plants having a good soak before planting out

Sorry these are rather poor little plants, it's a wonderful climbing french bean that I've been growing for years, and I think these particular seeds may have been a bit old. I'll write more about them later.


  1. I first learned about Rainbow Chard via Kaffe Fasset! That beautiful design he did which translated into needlepoint - beautiful! I've never eaten chard but am now determined to give it a try.

    I over soaked some anemone seeds earlier this year, I never do things by half! But I can learn a lesson. Enjoying your garden tips, Nina! Keep it up!!

  2. Two useful tips - giving plants a proper soaking before planting out and eating radish pods!

    The trouble with rainbow chard, I find, is that it bolts more quickly than the plain stuff, and it loses its colour when you cook it. Beautiful when growing though.