Elma Family Garden Kitty

In the Pocket Handkerchief Garden: 21 May 2015


Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

You’d be forgiven for thinking that at first glance nothing very much has changed in our garden over the last week.  And I think that if I didn’t have the first Pocket Handkerchief Garden instalment to go back on I’d think pretty much the same thing, but if you look carefully you might just spot that the lone stray tulip (pinched from the back garden and buried there by a squirrel I think) has started to fade, while the garlic and leeks have shot up a little, growing happy and strong now that I’ve cleared all that grass that was swallowing them up (that bit was pre blog-photos – you don’t want to know what it looked like, chocked just wasn’t the word!).  I’ve also clearly added a couple of rather adorable children who were having a lot of fun digging up our planting.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

Some of the strawberry petals have started to fall, leaving Kitty very anxious that we don’t miss the first strawberry.  I’ve tried to explain that it’s still going to be a while before flowers turn into fruit, and by the time that first one ripens I suspect no strawberry will ever have been so eagerly anticipated.  Now all I need to do is find some netting to put over them to prevent ‘fat pigeon’ as he’s known around here from claiming the prize.  I don’t think she’d mind if it was our robin but fat pigeon has done little to endear himself save once topple off the fence and I think Kitty would be wanting to do more than “raaa” at him if he pinched her berries.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

And in the front beds we have a small haze of green.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

The northerly end has now definitely been identified as spinach on the basis that (a) it came through first (b) it looks like the seedlings on the packet and (c) the rainbow chard has started to appear at the other end and it looks different.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

This is what we think is spinach,

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

And this is rainbow chard.

Which brings me to my question.  I’ve never really grasped the concept of thinning; in my head to have grown something is a miracle, why would I want to pull it up, but I do get that that may also be the reason why I only ever grow minuscule root vegetables.  But when it comes to the spinach and the rainbow chard, I’m not quite sure what to do.  I want to grow them both as baby leaf if I can, that way I can cook them if we feel like it, but also, well probably mainly, eat them both in salads, spinach and avocado salad being one of my favourite lunches thanks to a small Pip-bump who gave me a humungous craving for it that happily translated into merely deep affection post partum.

So, should I thin them now, or wait until they have little leaves and then thin/harvest for lunch, leaving the rest as a sort of cut and come again salad?  And if I thin now is there anything I can do with the thinning? replant them? eat them for lunch?  I really, really don’t know much about growing food do I!

And as for the sweetcorn in the middle, well there are a few things that might be the start of seedlings, or they might be weeds, or some leftover grass.  For the moment we’re leaving well alone and we’ll make a decision as and when anything substantial appears.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

Yes, that’s my lens cap for size, rather than a dinner plate, the seedling you’re looking for is that tiny green dot!

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

So for now we’re carrying on as normal.  We haven’t really been out into the garden this week apart from a little bit of occasional weeding, but it has become our morning ritual to run out to the beds and stare at them for a bit to see if anything new has appeared overnight.  We’re doing it because it’s fun, and we like to eat strawberries, corn on the cob and spinach salad, but I can’t help thinking that the girls will be picking up a fair amount about the origins of their food along the way – what more could you ask for for the summer.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life


Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

Joining in again with Soulemama

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  • Mandycharlie 21/05/2015 at 10:18 am

    If it was root vegetables I’d say thin as soon as you possibly can but because it’s salad veg I’d say thin as soon as it looks a little crowded, and eat the thinnings, or you can transplant the thinnings into another area for more salad veg.

    • Carie 21/05/2015 at 12:03 pm

      smashing – thank you lovely will do 🙂

  • Kim 21/05/2015 at 1:01 pm

    I agree with Mandycharlie, let them get a little bigger and then just thin as you eat. Enjoy!

    • Carie 22/05/2015 at 9:16 am

      Now this sounds like my kind of gardening!

  • sally 21/05/2015 at 5:38 pm

    This gardening business is tricky stuff! However, reading your post is prompting me to grab some kids and go and plant our sunflowers which are still sitting in the packet of seeds we bought several weeks ago!

    • Carie 22/05/2015 at 9:19 am

      That’s what usually happens to my packets of seeds! I’m making a real push this year to make sure that everything actually makes it into the garden – what happens next is another question!

  • Vickie 21/05/2015 at 8:31 pm

    I second MandyCharlie’s advice re the thinning. That’s what I usually do – if Bubs hasn’t picked them all first. 🙂

    We are giving sweetcorn another go this year, after two years of failed crops. I am hoping that the third time, and a relocation to the allotment, will prove a charm.

    • Carie 22/05/2015 at 9:20 am

      Should I be worried about growing sweetcorn? We picked it because the girls love it for lunch so I’m hoping a bit of beginner’s luck will come into play!

  • Brandi 22/05/2015 at 2:40 pm

    Good luck with your thinning and gardening! We’ve got to get ours in this weekend.

    • Carie 23/05/2015 at 12:00 am

      Happily the general consensus was that I just leave it alone for a bit which is definitely my sort of gardening!

  • Chantal Milk&Nappies 23/05/2015 at 9:00 am

    It’s so wondeful that you’re growing fruit and veg in the garden with the children! I can’t give you any tips though as we’ve only just begun our gardening adventure, and let me tell you – we aren’t very good at it!! xx

    • Carie 26/05/2015 at 11:06 pm

      neither are we!! Maybe we can muddle through together!