May? – Seems Like April To Me

Yes, we  have winds and showers, just like the kind of weather expected in April. To be fair it’s only the last few days but it’s enough to stop me working much in the garden today for instance.

Anyway, I’ve been spending the last couple of weeks trying to catch up and have planted a whole bunch of stuff, most of which should have been planted earlier in the year but it was just too cold, or I didn’t have time.

Not only have I been planting seeds, but also planting out seedlings and getting the bed with the glass over sorted out.

Having put it off and thought about it for ages, I finally decided to just support the very heavy glass over the raised bed with just a couple of wooden supports at about 45 degrees. This has both advantages and disadvantages – on the plus side it offers shelter and allows the sun to still have more or less full effect (the glass is raised towards the south), but of course it shelters a good deal of the bed from the rain so I may need to water it more than the others. We’ll see how it goes.

The obvious candidates were the courgette and squash seedlings I’d bought a few weeks ago, and they are both now planted and seem to be doing well. They will be joined soon by another courgette from my seeds as 3 have come up and one is outside the greenhouse now waiting to go in (note – planted Sunday 12th). Two cucumber seeds have also come up and at least one of those will go in as well in a few days.

Also in the same bed and planted round the margins are a number of garlic cloves, supposedly a ‘strong’ variety, but just planted as an experiment there really.

More garlic cloves are planted round the margins of the bed with the broad beans in along with a number of onion sets – again as an experiment. Meanwhile, the broad beans are coming along well, the first couple of rows are close to flowering already and will soon need supports. Picture below was taken about a week ago:

Broad beans in raised bed

Broad beans in raised bed

The main onion planting has been in the raised bed close to the greenhouse. I had bought a pack of ‘mixed’ onion sets a while back, so there are rows of red onions, what would seem to be ‘standard’ onions and some that appear to be like shallots. There is a row of garlic also and another row in the next raised bed (the pack had several garlic bulbs each with many cloves – and there are still some I haven’t planted!).

The bed nearest the greenhouse (I think I might have to name them to make it easier) has also been planted up with rocket (just coming through now), lettuce and leef beet at one end along with a couple of rows of leeks – two varieties neither, both ‘dwarf and don’t need blanching. So that raised bed is full now, though we’ll see what actually comes through.

Greenhouse

Inside the greenhouse, the tomato seedlings that have come through are all pretty close to being planted out and several have been already. Four are in growbags in the greenhouse, 3 in one and 1 in another (2 places left). They are moneymaker, ailsa craig and sweet baby (x2). The two plants in the greenhouse I bought are well away in their growbag, about 3 feet high and just about to flower. The pepper plant in the same growbag is ok, but not exactly racing away.

Speaking of peppers, none of the original plantings have produced, so I’ve planted som more (Toro Rosso, long variety) just a few days ago. I may have to buy a plant or two if they don’t come through.

Other plantings in the greenhouse have included peas – both mangetout and conventional plus climbing french beans – so far only one french bean has made an appearance and no peas – either mice (another one trapped in the last couple of days) or age has got them. I may need to buy more I think as the mangetout need regular plantings through the year.

Other seeds planted in the greenhouse are parsley (curly and flat), basil and oregano – about a week ago, so far no sign. The parsley is always hit and miss in any case.

The container with salad plants in is now outside and just about ready for some to be harvested. I will probably move to near the kitchen so harvesting is easier and more likely when it’s in full view (done today). There is another container outside the greenhouse planted up with more rocket and salad seeds.

Phew!, it does seem like I’ve been busy.

Other developments – the bush tomatoes outside the kitchen are just about to flower, though they haven’t grown very big. I’ve also added a ‘sweet baby’ plant from the greenhouse in the same container.

The Maya Gold potatoes in containers are all through and I’ve started to add more compost to them. The ‘rooster’ ones have come through yet.

All the currant bushes are either in flower or about to be – the red and white currant are the most advanced. The gooseberry bushes are in flower, though only on is in good shape, tow seem to have suffered over the winter and are a bit sparse (see below for pics).

The established apple is just about in flower, but the two new trees (plum and apple) are just producing leaves as yet, and it looks like all the growing tip of the plum is dead – again as a result of the winter weather.

A couple of pictures below of a couple of fruit bush flowers – these are very insignificant flowers but close up they are rather more interesting:

Currant flower (white or red not sure

Currant flower (white or red not sure)

 

Gooseberry Flower

Gooseberry Flower

Wildlife

The blackbirds gave up on their nest close to the house, maybe because of the disturbance but could be just one of several nests they built. The robin still appears within minutes of me working in the garden, so every so often I have to stop digging or whatever to allow it the opportunity to collect the bugs and worms it is after. Apart from that the finches and others are still working their way through quantities of sunflower seeds, though the mixed seeds feeder seems to be much less popular now.

More bumble bees around and they have been actively pollinating the currant and gooseberry bushes. Several orange tip butterflies have been around and one cabbage white, plus at least one comma.

Another squirrel has been taken for a holiday (the first to be seen for quite a few weeks) – however since then another has appeared – but we are ready….

 

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