Farmer Duck was first published 20 years ago but it’s still one of my favourite picture books. If you’re familiar with the book you’ll recognise ‘how goes the work?’ as its catchphrase; a story in which ‘‘there once was a duck who had the bad luck to live with a lazy old farmer. The duck did the work. The farmer stayed all day in bed.”
It’s a popular catchphrase in our house too but thankfully we rarely reply ‘quaaaaaccck’ as forlornly as that poor exhausted duck. In fact if you asked me ‘how goes the work?‘ in my vegetable garden right now I’d reply ”very well thank you” with a big smile.
Three weeks ago this is how one half of our plot was looking with potatoes planted, strawberries flowering, raspberries and currants thriving and green onion shoots tentatively reaching skyward. The long awaited rainfall at the start of this month has transformed the vegetable patch and we’re now greeted by these wonderful sights.
On the other half of the plot the broad beans that survived a snow frozen winter have flowered and I’m keen to see if they’ll form bean pods before the black fly swoop down on to the plot.
The spiky leaved globe artichokes that withered back to nothing in the winter are looking full of big and beautiful promise (the eagle eyed among you may have spotted the courgettes behind them?).
The Polestar runner beans, sown from last years saved pods, are climbing happily.
And my favourite tomatoes, nurtured carefully at home, are now planted out.
Fingers crossed for a blight free year and a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes for oven roasting and chutney making.
© Farmer Duck illustration by Helen Oxenbury
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