Richard's Ramblings (Or GROW HQ Head Grower - Garden Diary) November 25th 2017

Broad beans & peas are emerging and will provide important greens during the hungry gap. From Latin to Pruning.

The over-winter sowings are now completed in the veg patch. Broad beans & peas are emerging from the soil ready to brave the winter, these can be damaged by a hard winter but we should be ok in the sunny southeast, possibly they are more of a risk if you are growing in the north or midlands but would always in my view be worth a go as it is great to break the spring hungry gap with something fresh & green. And if you are really keen for something fresh in the spring then you can eat the pea and bean tops. This can knock back the yield of peas (if you take the shoots with blossom on- something JB in the Kitchen loves) but is usually beneficial for the broad beans as it discourages black fly.  The garlic is going in where the carrots and beet come out, as ever we try to keep something growing in the beds at all times, worms love roots, when harvesting the beet it was noticeable how many beets had worms living amongst the root mass.

On my ramble this morning I noticed I hadn’t got around to labelling my new sown beds.  Out of habit I was intending to put the Latin name on the labels as well the common name. Mick asked me why I would bother with a Latin name, I couldn’t help agreeing that it was really an elitist way to show off. The practice might have some value for ornamental plants but a pea is a pea! It’s easy in any walk of life to get carried away with your own feelings of smug self-satisfaction at your abilities and knowledge, this is usually bull---t. And, in a garden, bull---t should only be used as a fertiliser. Smug self-satisfaction rarely lasts long in a garden anyway, there is always some new problem, pest or challenge you have never come across before to jolt you back into reality. A grower is never able to rest on their laurels, there is always something new to learn, egos are best left at the garden gate.

Specialist terminology and over-complication can be a real barrier to new people trying their hand at growing, most of this is probably unnecessary and a way for established growers to show off. Fruit growing seems to be one of the areas worst affected by the curse of over -elaboration. The terminology used in most books on fruit growing needs a glossary. Pruning is often presented as an art form that only a select few are ever allowed to be initiated into, something that puts many people off bothering to try growing fruit. This really is bull---t, all plants know how to grow, bushes and trees aren’t sitting there thinking “I really wish a human being would come along and chop bits off me”. There are a few simple rules that can improve yield and plant health, but even if you don’t touch them you’ll usually have something to harvest. Sure, if you are a commercial grower who wants maximum yield then you might need to have a more in-depth knowledge, but if you are giving growing a go for the first time don’t worry, remember all plants know how to grow.