Today has been the most wonderful day! The sun shone all day, there was no wind and I had the time to be in the garden until the sun set. For most of the time I was warm enough with just a short sleeved T-shirt, so this year’s tan (at least on my lower arms) is underway; don’t misunderstand me, I’m not actually very interested in getting a tan but working outside so much it happens and sadly usually only on my lower arms and face and to garden I wear jeans and never shorts as I find it uncomfortable kneeling on the ground (and my knees get too dirty) if I wear shorts. Here in Italy this is called a ‘builder’s tan’ because everybody else would make sure they were tanning evenly, not getting lines where a T-shirt ends etc. But I’m not Italian and I garden wearing the clothes that are comfortable for me when I’m working outside, so I have the unfashionable tan.
Today I spent most of my time weeding the bank. This was not easy for two reasons: 1. the plants I was weeding around were very small (most had only been planted as seedling in the autumn) and 2. The slope is quite steep and it is very tiring balancing and weeding. The slope is unfortunately too steep to mulch so my answer will have to be to plant very close together to squeeze out the weeds!
I have been weeding and tidying most days this week as the weather has been good, though the wind was strong so it felt quite cold. The joy of not tidying up too much early in the winter is that it has allowed time for seedlings of the plants in the beds to establish themselves and be ready to pot-up or move to another location. The circular rose bed yielded about 100 seedling of Gaura. This meant I spent almost as long potting these up as I did weeding the bed. I didn’t cut back the parent plants yet as we may well have some more cold weather and the top growth protects the new growth. I put the seedling in my very small cold-frame which already contains cuttings of Penstemon and Solarnum jasminoides (I did these in late autumn and most are green so I’m hoping they are making nice strong roots).
In the vegetable garden I only have a few crops (I think I might try to grow more next winter as even with all the cold weather we’ve had this winter I’ve enjoyed a great crop of Broccoli; leeks and Black Tuscany cabbage have also done well. And here’s a photo to show you what I meant about my garlic pushing out of the ground!
Black Tuscany Cabbage, perfect for Ribollita.