The sun is shining (some of the time!), everything is growing fast! When I am not sowing, planting or weeding, I’m thinking about what I’m going to be doing next and even dreaming about my garden at night 🙂
It is bright but chilly, with a cold wind that cut through my clothes when I hung out the washing this morning. The near freezing temperatures are a reminder that there is still a risk of frost here in Somerset until well into May. Tender plants need warmth and protection; frost will kill them.
In my greenhouse I have two heated areas, protecting aubergines, chillies, basil and other heat loving plants. My tomatoes, sown much later than usual (see this blog), were pricked out and buried almost to their leaves on Friday which helps them to establish a strong growing stem. They’ll soon catch up and be ready to plant out in May.
Every day, if I can, I check under the modules for slugs or woodlice. The slugs will even make a home on the heated sand bench (which dispels the myth that slugs will avoid sand!) This one had been feeding on my young coriander seedlings and was snug underneath the module tray, possibly dreaming of feasting some more…
At the allotment, I’ve harvested the last of the parsnips – all sown into an inch deep (2.5cm) mulch of well rotted manure on top of undug heavy clay soil. They grew very well. I used my beautiful sharp copper spade to help leaver them out.
Overwintered broad beans are flowering, the garlic is looking good and I have pulled back the netting from many of the overwintered brassicas, to allow beneficial insects to feed on the flowers. The brassicas will be removed and composted when the next plants are ready to go in. I’m amazed by the borage which was really hit by the low temperatures this winter but not quite killed off – now full of flowers and much appreciated by the bees.
Very early first early potatoes (Rocket and Swift) are full of life in the polytunnel. This year, I decided to grow the rest of the potatoes at home rather than the allotment, so I can easily fleece them if the cold temperatures continue for longer than expected. First earlies are in a bed in the back garden and second earlies in the front garden raised bed closest to the road. I’ll be mulching them with well rotted manure tomorrow when Charles comes to help me bring some home from the allotment. A few remaining spare potatoes will go in pots on the patio.
The wild rose at the rear of the back garden potatoes is in quite an inconvenient place so has been cut back this year, to provide more light for the potatoes – it produces the most lovely blossom and rosehips, great for wildlife and cordials.
I started off oca and yacon in pots – they are now in the polytunnel. Mysteriously, the saved oca from last year has disappeared – clearly the safe place I put them in is safe even from me. Fortunately I’d already bought three new varieties to try out from Real Seeds: Strawberries and Cream, Sesam Orange and Scarlet with White Eyes.
In the bed adjacent to the old apple tree, I’ve planted spring sown broad beans and Oskar early dwarf peas. This is a tricky bed, being next to my washing line. Last year I planted sweetcorn and sunflowers, a crazy idea as of course whenever I hung up the laundry, it bashed the poor plants. So I was conscious about only growing lowish plants here. The compost is beautiful, very well rotted homemade compost, but this area is infested with a lot of annual wildflower and herb seeds, so need regular hoeing. They took over somewhat last summer when an injury meant that I couldn’t keep on top of everything at home. The bees loved the flowery abundance!
There are plenty of flowers for bees and other wild creatures, including ‘my’ wasp, who is making her home somewhere nearby but I have not found out yet where. Wasps are a very important part of biodiversity and sadly are in a decline, so I am happy to provide habitat for them.
In the polytunnel, the Mystery Fruit Tree now has some fruit developing – possibly almonds? I’m looking forward to finding out later in the summer.
Overwintered polytunnel veg is providing some delicious harvests including carrots, cabbages, calabrese, salad and herbs.
Meanwhile, my older son Ruairi and his friends decided to help by clearing out our shed. They did an amazing job, it looks great – really organised, we now know where all of the tools are! They did have an ulterior motive: it is now part shed, part gym, part hang out (including comfy chairs and a dart board!) He has now gone off to Cuba for a few weeks and left this. Just in case anyone thinks my garden must be immaculate, this is where I am going to be growing courgettes and summer squash this year!!
Fortunately most of it can be recycled/upcycled/put back in the shed 🙂