Herbs, Bugs and Weeds
Origanum vulgare ‘Aureum’ self-seeds on the allotment and although I’ve never cooked with it I love the vibrant colour it adds to the flower bed. Some mint runners (always very welcome) have spread through a mound of the golden leaves.
The chives were lifted and divided up in April and if you are prepared to forfeit the flowers and to keep them watered you can spread them around now. They make a pretty lining to the edge of the runner bean bed and are great chopped into egg mayonnaise and in a week or two salad potatoes.
Rosemarinus ‘Miss Jessop’s Upright’ on the allotment was decimated by the rosemary beetle late last summer and I’ve just found it in the garden on the prostrate rosemary. I picked off a couple of dozen shiny bronze beetles yesterday and today six more. I’m not sure the plant will be spared but I’m giving it a go. Here’s everything you need to know and advice about the rosemary beetle.
Odd as this may sound I find that I really enjoy weeding especially on the allotment. In April and May as the ground warms up and dormant weed seedlings (from late last year) find their mojo they would if ignored entirely cover the ground within days. When weeds have merged with young salad, chard and beetroot leaves I use a hand hoe for better control. You can lift the vegetable leaves up with one hand and cut through surface weeds fast with it in the other hand. In early June as produce grows and and the weather warms up the ground is drier and weeds slow down. Then a long handled hoe is easiest to use on more established rows of plants. A bed of seedling globe artichokes, growing steadily if a little slowly, were left in a bed free of competition.
And the onions planted last Autumn are looking pretty good and now even better since they were hoed through. Keeping onions and garlic free of weeds apparently will increase your yield by 4%.
At home and with a busy bank holiday planned I wanted to get the garden looking its best. My nemesis, the lesser celandine, had died back but was hanging around on the soil surface pale and wan, soaking up the elements and determined to return next year. It is pretty enough when in flower but it fades to an unhealthy pale specimen that covers all uncultivated soil.
Such a pain and once you have it that’s it you live with it but with determination and a hand hoe I cleared the soil surface and left the beds looking better manicured at least.