Friday, 25 May 2012

Irises, three sisters and a long awaited gage...

Not being able to get down to the allotment as often as I might has some advantages. One of them is surprises. A clump of irises in full bloom greeted me this morning when I went down to water and there were plenty of other blossoms too. A few days of hot sun works like a magic wand on flower buds; self seeded blooms of borage, corn and welsh poppies as well as fat red heads of crimson clover all made a welcome sight.

I was only there to water but couldn't stop myself from digging a small patch over and planting a 3 sisters  bed. This is a Native American Indian planting technique. Squash, corn and beans are all planted together, the beans fix nitrogen in the soil, the spreading squash leaves shade the earth and suppress weeds and the corn acts as a support for the beans.

To make this traditional approach my own, I have planted speckled borlotti beans, a steel blue pumpkin called blue ballet and a rather unusual sweet corn called strawberry popcorn. The cobs are dark red and small and apparently they make brilliant popcorn. We'll see. I might just hang them up in the kitchen. This year's late cold snap could have been fatal for fruit tree blossoms but thankfully both my apples have tiny fruits (a russset and a spartan) and after five years my greengage has finally fruited. It's been a long wait.

There was just time to scatter a few seeds from an Italian salad mix (rocket, basil, oak leaf lettuce, broccoli raab and red dandelion) and pick herbs, chard and salad leaves for my paella party tonight. Not forgetting  3 big heads of cabbage for making kimchi in my new fermenting crock.

                    Three sisters bed planted.

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