March has felt much colder, wetter and darker than usual. Occasional bursts of golden sunshine and hints of the warmth that will (surely it must?!) be here soon have brightened an otherwise most peculiar month. Almost everything is behind where it was last year. The cold weather can set off my arthritis so I’ve had a few days when it has been painful walking. I feel grateful that thankfully these days are few and far between, but I would rather be gardening!!
The spring equinox was bitterly cold with a gorgeous sunrise. We watched it rise at Homeacres. Charles’ garden photos are much admired on Instagram – here is how he gets many of those fabulous shots: on a ladder!
A couple of days earlier, the return of the snow was beautiful but frankly we’d had enough. On the plus side, snow is great for hiding all of the things I haven’t got round to yet in my garden and allotment, but really I’d rather be cracking on now.
Charles posted these photos of his garden on March 19th – taken 6 hours apart. We were lucky in Somerset, the snow only lasted a few days.
As a writer, there’s always plenty to do indoors, especially as I’m working on the first draft of my next book, writing, photographing, trialing and tweaking recipes for it. I’ll write more about this exciting venture in another post. Also, I’ve been proof reading and sorting more photos for the recipes section of a new edition of one of Charles’ books – lots of fun times being creative in the kitchen. And proofreading an article for the next edition of Permaculture Magazine.
On the rare dry days, I’ve seized the opportunity to catch up with some of the over winter jobs which didn’t get done… My friend Sara Venn, an amazing gardener who runs Incredible Edible Bristol, came to visit and her garden tour comprised of a lot more “this is what I’m going to be doing here..” that one would expect at this time of the year. Real Life!
Clearing out the storage area at the side of my house revealed such treasures as half a sack of seaweed meal and two sacks of multipurpose compost! I’ve got a pile of things for the recycling centre, organised all of my pots and other equipment and moved the Hotbin closer to my house.
Everything is ready in the area behind the greenhouse for potting on – there isn’t much I can do with that pile of broken fence at the moment so I’m pretending it’s an artistic feature 🙂 Lifting a dalek composter revealed some fantastic compost which I’ve spread on several beds.
This Hotbin compost has gone into the polytunnel.
This spring I’m sorting the garden paths out. This is the route to the bottom of the garden, which runs alongside the washing line. It seems to want to be a lawn! So I’ve covered it with a layer of cardboard for now, to kill off the grass, whilst I concentrate on other jobs. I’ll be adding another layer of cardboard here tomorrow.
This overgrown brick path leads to the polytunnel, no longer needed now that we use the other path. The plan is to remove the bricks and enlarge the beds here – so I can grow more food.
In the greenhouse, it’s a busy time sowing, pricking out and admiring my seedlings. Leggy seedlings are pricked out and buried up to their ‘necks’ – this makes lovely healthy transplants.
I’ve got Swift and Rocket early potatoes in sacks in the greenhouse. Any compost from seed trays which have been pricked out is added to these sacks.
Outside, spring flowers cheer the heart and delight the bees. I was thrilled when, during my tidy up, I found the label for my early fruiting plum.
I’m often asked why I grow hardy plants such as kale in the polytunnel over winter. This photo (taken by Charles) explains one reason why – picked the same day, the kale above was grown in my polytunnel, the leaf below outside in his garden.
Despite the bonkers weather, in the polytunnel the Blue Butterfly Peas are growing beaufully. Now supported by pea sticks, I’m hopeful for a good crop of flowers and seeds to save for next year.
I’ve sown the rest of my Blue Butterfly Pea seed, into a tray to be pricked out into modules for planting. Here they are just sprouting.
Tomorrow, I am looking forward to lots of gardening once the day warms up a bit. A few days ago I noticed the big difference comparing my allotment and that of neighbouring dug plots. We are all on heavy clay! No dig makes such a difference, it even looks more delicious!
We are going out for dinner tonight to a local pub. Yum! I had wanted to write about the gardening we did today, but that can wait for tomorrow. Have a lovely Easter weekend!