Darsham Nurseries Cafe, potager, kitchen garden, vegetables from seed, harvesting vegetables,
The Daily Dibber

Kitchen gardener for the Darsham Nurseries Cafe. Seedaholic. Grower and lover of food and flowers.

My Other Addiction

Redneck season is rapidly approaching and everyone is exhausted. Personally my limbs don’t work after 9pm. In the polytunnel the seedlings are getting stronger every day. It’s our first attempt at a fair and ‘The Edible Garden Fair’ is gaining momentum. Growing your own food is so fulfilling and on the 4th of June there will be an opportunity to buy some of these rare vegetable varieties:


A good way of avoiding a ‘glut’ is to buy different size seedlings, it then is similar to making successive sowings. This will in effect extend the season of harvesting.

We will also be selling some edible flower plants. Some of these will not be in flower just yet but are potted and are ready to be planted out:


It’s been confirmed that some alpacas will be popping in for the day. Jevans pencils are probably already twitching.

Melford Green Alpacas

Melford Green Alpacas

The 38 varieties of tomatoes seems frankly ridiculous right now but come August when we get to slice them, sprinkle some sea salt on them and dribble, it will all be worth it.

The harvesting in the potager has slowed down, in readiness for the new season. We still have regular harvests of chard, herbs, radishes, pea shoots and spring onions. The herb bed has been planted and includes a new dill called ‘Diana’and some sweet fennel.

The arches have been planted with climbing beans and courgettes. These should start curling around the hazel rods soon, Lobelia has been planted at the base. The effect mid summer should with a bit of luck be quite pretty. The broad bean tops have been greedily nabbed by the kitchen so the pods have already started to swell.

Even with the netting in place I have already lost numerous young lettuces, there was many satisfying welly crunches yesterday as I found the culprits. Talking of culprits the rhubarb planted along the perimeter (see previous post ‘Run Rabbit Run’) is proving effective. There is evidence of nibbles which hopefully means somewhere a furry tummy is aching.

So far we have had only one cauliflower! I offically hate cauliflowers..unless it’s roasted and sprinkled with pine nuts. Spring Onion ‘Reddy’ has proved so reliable and beautiful it’s become annoying. There are buckets and buckets of perfect Spring onions. Thankfully we have a very inventive pickler on site.

Pickled Spring Onions

Pickled Spring Onions

In the polytunnel the tendrils of the cucumbers and cucamelons have started to seek support which signals happiness and an eagerness to be planted.

The overflow allotment area seems happy. Jerusalem artichokes and ‘Pink Fir’ potatoes are sprouting in recycled old compost bags. The garlic and shallots are perfectly healthy. This mild weather is ideal for radishes and a new variety ‘Bacchus’ is just purple perfection. I have experimented and sown seed tape of radishes in old guttering, we shall have to wait a few weeks to see if it’s successful.



The cafe beds have been cleared and there is a new approach this year. Roses and an array of perennials are being added for the first time. These beds are evolving year after year and I look forward to watching them develop. There is so, so much to do that it’s quite overwhelming.

In the polytunnel the best investment/invention by far this year has been the ‘The Hotbox’. It’s usefulness is continuing by ensuring continuous germination whatever the weather. The watermelons and aubergines have stayed in there and look very content.
The maincrop onions are overdue to be planted. It’s irritating but inevitable that at this time of the year some plantings will be a bit late. I have been wrestling with selecting the best location for these onions. 36 beds sounds a lot but in actual fact when you are growing food for a cafe the allocation of which vegetables go where, can be often dictated by the more successful harvests/menus of the past and the best conditions for a particular vegetable. I mapped out (previous post ‘Fail to Plan, Plan to fail) the allocation of vegetables to beds for 2016. I failed to plan however for the reality that some seedlings just can’t wait until a bed is available so some tweaks were inevitable.
So far it looks like this:
Broad bean beds – 3
Peas – 2
Brassicas – 3
Chard – 3
Onions – 1
Herbs -2
Edible flowers – 2
Early raddichios – 1
Courgettes – 2
Strawberries – 1
Lettuce – 2
Agretti -2

That leaves 12 beds, one of which has failed to be successful due to the proximity ( I think) of tree roots. There needs to be two leek beds and at least one more courgette, kale and early radicchio bed. There is hesitancy to plant the beetroot in the potager as it was a complete failure last year due to the clay soil. But there is no room yet in the allotment…hmmm.

Some of the winter squash will be planted in the corners of the allotment beds where they can happily sprawl over the edges. Disipline is needed to stick to the resolve to save the lettuces for the cafe beds, where there are no predators and each one thrives. But it’s difficult as some of them are so handsome and would visually work with the leaf tones of other vegetables.

The new addition of the arches is most helpful, as this year several beds don’t need to be saved for climbing beans. All of our radishes are now in the allotment which also helps.

A decision is made, the allotment is definitely where the onions should go. The potager is watered by a sprinkler at night and onions prefer dryer conditions. I think this is why last year our onions developed rust before maturity. Beetroot and turnips have also been delayed due to the long harvest of our Spring onions. These vegetables are now the priority for the week ahead. Along with the remaining beans, courgettes, winter squash, kale, tomatoes, chillies, peppers, celery, lettuce, cucumbers, kohl rabi, leeks, ullocos, ucos and early radicchios. The watermelons can wait! At least the chard, chickpeas, peas, beans and kale are done.

My other harmless addiction has helped enormously. Multiple daily list writing has been an addiction for around 20 years. Embarrassing at times as they have always been categorised to the point of slight madness. My teenager screams “Slight  madness?”

Supermarket shopping lists are done by the aisle set up of that particular shop for maximum effiency. These lists have helped to organise  many, many memorable parties and even an ambitious after prom party for 86 ( yes eighty six) 16 year olds. That was far easier than this!

I never realised that one day my nutty habit would be an asset and that both of my addictions would combine and actually be helpful, together.

Panic rises, today is nearly over and tomorrow’s list needs to be made.

Top of the list…onions.

limegarden@sky.com • 20th May 2016

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