This is more for me than for you, but I thought I’d bring you along for the ride. After a spring with only a handful of dry days, it has been great to have a break for more than a few days in a row and the garden is drying out nicely and starting to look achievable. Although the pressure is still on – this weekend is the last frost date and when most folk plant their gardens. I need to exercise patience. Just because you can plant things out, doesn’t necessarily mean you should.
The greenhouse is full of seedlings and most have been moved on from the seed raising mix and are now flourishing in a potting mix and have great root structure. I have noticed the seedlings are paler than normal and slightly smaller than I’d expect to see at this time of year. I put this down to too many gloomy days in a row and not enough brilliant spring sunshine.
I still have some flower seeds to resow, because they didn’t come up. I probably should have done this weeks ago, but flowers, despite their cheerful disposition are pretty much second rate citizens in my garden. I don’t mean to, but, well… you can’t eat them.
There are many seedlings dwelling out of doors and well into the later stages of the hardening off process and are spending nights outdoors. I’m wary of their condition out there as it has been a bit breezy so I don’t want them to dry out or blow over. I’m glued to the boffins weather predictions and watching the temperatures closely. I’m choosing to ignore the rain radar though as I really don’t like what it is proclaiming from its brightly coloured imagery.
I need to take a moment and get out my plan – the one I actually took the time to draw up, with plant spacing and which plant will go where, and do a bit of a stock take to ensure I have everything I need. I do know I have more Bell Peppers than I need as the first lot was a bit slow to come up. My only excuse is they are a bit fickle and nothing at all to do with my impatience. So I sowed another lot and then there was ‘The Big Fry Up’ that we aren’t supposed to talk about anymore. I thought the pepper seeds would be toast, so I sowed another batch. And then of course – they all came up. I have over 40 and only wanted 8!
Out in the garden some beds are already in action. I’m enjoying regular salads from the salad bed with some in various stages of maturity and another lot in the greenhouse for when the first lot are past their best. So far so good – the succession planting is going well. The asparagus is a bit slow – I’m hoping they haven’t drowned in all the wet weather. I did sow seeds from the plants during the winter so if I need to start again – I’m already ahead. But I really hope I don’t have too.
The artichokes and rhubarb haven’t coped too well in the wet either and are decidedly droopy. I am hoping they will bounce back once the weather improves and the soil dries out. The broad beans are at the edible stage, but I’m still hesitant. Maybe I need to re-watch my old You Tube video showing how surprised I was to find they weren’t that bad. And the last of the ‘in action’ beds are the strawberries who are just getting started and I can’t wait to have so many I don’t know what to do with.
The garlic has suffered again with rust, but with all the rain it seemed inevitable and beyond my control so I pretty much left it to its own devices. However, as I cast my eye over the bed the other day it looked like it was pushing through and growing past it. The new leaves were green, strong and healthy looking. So I removed all the leaves with the dreaded shade of orange and gave it a good feed to help it on its way. I may get a garlic harvest after all.
The under-control beds are the onions and the onion overflow bed. They are doing really well and beginning to fatten up. Through everything since mid-winter I like to pride myself on keeping these beds weed free as onions really hate competition. The spuds are up and looking lush. I trained my boysenberries – or more accurately whipped them into shape as I tied it into an elaborate frame that should manage the unruly growth habit. The currants and blueberries have been weeded, enriched and doing well. Although I was up bright and early in my PJs today dragging a reluctant goat away from the red currants. Not much damage was done, fortunately. Especially as Hubby the Un-Gardener was the one to tie the knot that secured Sweetie the Goat. It could have been labelled “The Great Goat Incident” but disaster was averted.
The tomato, cucumber and brassica beds have been enriched but need turning over. Not too much effort for Hubby the Un-Gardener… to make up for the goat incident. The cape gooseberry bed – yes they have their own space, because they are notorious for reappearing season after season. So instead of it becoming a weed – it just self-perpetuates, which suits me fine as these are supposed to be super foods. Not bad considering they are also considered a bit of a weed in some circles. Well their bed has been weeded but not enriched as it is in the ‘damper end’ of the garden. It also has a guava in there that really needs a home of it’s own as it got engulfed last year. If you do notice a new bed, please don’t say anything. I told Hubby the Un-Gardener I wasn’t going to expand any more. I may need to build it while he’s out.
The rest of the bean bed needs to have the remains of the last overflow onions removed – it is mostly leeks that are going to seed and some self-seeded elephant garlic I’m thinking of repotting into containers big enough to grow them on to full maturity. I have nothing to lose. The other half of the carrot bed needs to be enriched as while carrots don’t like it too rich, the other occupants intended to move in here do like to have a bit to snack while growing. The leafy green bed has left over strawberries that I heeled in temporarily. I need to whip them out and pop them over to a friend’s house who was looking for strawberries for her garden. The old leafy green bed still has my rainbow beets (chard) in it and the chickens and I are eating it as fast as we can. Because I need to get my corn in at some stage from this weekend on…
The pumpkin bed needs a bit of a tickle – it is mostly weed free but could do with some compost and blood and bone, but it is still too damp to dig. I have some mountain corn that I want to grow among the pumpkins that is desperate to go in due to a miscalculation during a moment of enthusiasm. The odd and sods bed for all the fun stuff still has a cabbage that needs eating and the flower sprouts are actually in flower and I can’t bring myself to remove them as the bees are loving it too much. The flower bed has been weeded but needs enriching, but it isn’t as simple as digging it over as there are perennials that just languish there over the winter. I’ll have to proceed with caution.
The only really weedy beds that I feel shame about are my raspberries, my teaching garden, the Jerusalem artichokes and my herb garden, but all going well I’ll have them whipped into shape by this time tomorrow and we can forget this paragraph completely.
The last bit that needs sorting out is the wheat. It is ready to be harvested and dried and used as a mulch, but it is quite laborious as I like to keep it in neat bundles so it dries evenly and makes it easier to apply as a mulch.
So not much to do really. It is just as well my garden is my passion and every moment toiling in the mud is a moment well spent.
Come again soon – this summer is going to be fabulous. I can feel it in my bones!
Sarah the Gardener : o)