Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Spring Has Definitely Sprung...

Well it has here anyway. The weather has been unseasonably warm for several weeks and no rain either. I wish it would (only overnight obviously!), as the ground is already like mid-summer, cracked and dry. The veg beds are fine to dig but the flower borders and veg bed no5 are like concrete.

I had a couple of weeks of relative inactivity garden-wise as the children and OH were all ill over and over in a horrible cycle. I just wanted to run away! But now they are all better (for now) so it's been a very busy time outside.

It's hard to remember all the things I have done since my last effort so bear with me....

The carrot bed is coming along nicely, it now has parsnips planted out in loo rolls, plus some more sown direct. It has 2 rows of carrots - no signs yet, a row of transplanted beetroot, a row of radish and a row of turnips. And one lettuce. There were 8 but slugs have been around when I wasn't looking.

The onion bed is looking great! The garlic, shallots, and onions are all looking healthy and green and all several inches high.

The potato bed has first earlies in, and one lot of maincrop (I accidentally planted the main-crop thinking they were first earlies - doh!) so they went in a bit early. I have another lot of maincrop to go in later in the month and also I have loads of salad potatoes and earlies in buckets. Some in the greenhouse and some outside. The xmas potatoes that were meant to be ready 4 months ago have been earthed up twice and I think will be ready first. About time too!

The bean bed has had disaster strike twice. I planted them out in loo rolls and the next day they were all munched. Some of the loo rolls had even been pulled up. The pesky deer had managed to get in after not getting in for 2 weeks. I covered them all up with half bottles, after replanting them and they grew on again. I took the covers off 10 days later and that night the deer got in again. So they are now covered for a second time but I don't think they will catch up this time. Bummer. The fence has been checked and checked but we are not really sure where they are getting in. So I will have to net the whole bed until they are big enough not to be damaged. The deer also munched the strawbs that I had taken out of the greenhouse as they had flowers - no leaves left now, and the lemon bush that was outside the greenhouse.

The early tomatoes (December experiment) are already in the greenhouse, but they get covered with 2 or 3 layers of fleece each night. I am not sure if they will all make it but have run out of room for them in the house.

Sowing wise I have been busy too - more cabbage, more sprouts, more spinach, sunflowers, more leeks, salad leaves, more lettuce, more rocket, more mizuna, chamomile, summer savoury and more herbs. I have also sown courgettes, pumpkin, summer squash, marrow, melon and cucumbers. Mangetout and peas have been sown and are through already. More spring onions have been sown too. PSB and kale have been sown but won't be going anywhere for a while.

I dug over Louis' garden area and we have sown lots of annuals (poppies, wildflowers, cornflowers...). I hope they come up soon as it's hard keeping the cats off the bare earth! I have planted out some foxgloves and lavenders, calendulas and sweet peas in pots to climb the fence trellis.

Veg bed no5 (down past the greenhouse has been a MAMMOTH task as it was stony and rock hard, but finally tonight I finished it and we got the raised bed in place. There will be netting over it too as this one is for brassicas which are ready to go in. I think I will have to walk on the bed to settle the soil a bit as they like it firm. I am on a caterpillar mission this year as have been getting lots of net curtains from charity shops to put over the hoops. Just got to stitch them all together now....

I have potted on celeriac, asparagus, alpine strawbs, lemon bush, toms, peppers, chillies,

Harvest-wise I have had some kale which was delish, the carrots from the greenhouse which were meant to be for xmas are lovely and small and sweet, and the psb has gone bonkers. I have so far harvested 31 portions of it! As it retails at £2.69 for about 200g (waitrose) I have saved LOADS on this. It was definitely worth the twice daily caterpillar vigils in the summer. And everyone is getting some as there is no way we can eat all that broccoli! I have also harvested the radishes I put in pots in the greenhouse, salad leaves and rocket. An excellent start to the season!

And the final things to mention (that I can remember anyway) is that we shifted a tonne of topsoil onto the bit of lawn that dipped and put grass seed down. And a man with bigger muscles than mine laid the membrane and gravel between the vegetable beds.

Phew - is that all... no wonder I am tired!

ps - I really could do with some rain now if only to let me catch up on the house-work!