It’s one of those morning when you cannot stay in bed. The window had been opened in the bedroom last night and I was woken by the dawn chorus. The entertainment ended about 6.15 when the ducks started quaking, they seemed to wait their turn to have their say. It’s easy forget you live in suburbia sometimes. The drone of cars in the distance has yet to begin and the dew, stillness and clear red sky promise a very fine day ahead.
As we approach mid April the pace of growth is quickening buds bursting everywhere and little plants needing re-potting.
The 8 or so varietys of tomato plants are looking quite health and now in need of repotting before planting in May. Again we repotted in slightly larger containers to concentrate the moisture where it’s needed at the roots. I saw some tomatoes for sale in the shops the other day. They were re potted sideshoots from forced plants and looked rather gangly. Who know where they came from or what conditions they were grown in. It’s still much too early to be buying tomatoe plants for planting.
When re-potting the tomato plants we planted with the first leaves just above soil level and filled with potting on compost leaving space for watering.It’s really important not to wet the leaves. The fresh compost will feed the plants for 4 to 6 weeks but in any case they will be moved on probably into the ground by then. These tomatoes are more developed that those sown at home under plastic as the glass has much better light transmission.
Some of these will be for sale in the garden centre.
To help with rotations and keeping records we have started numbering all the raised bed. Bits of slate and undercoat are handy for this.
Some temporary protection for the onions while they root ready to be removed after about 2 to 3 weeks.
Recently sown pea hurst greenshaft with rocket and beetroot.
The bed of homeguard first earlies all poked through in the past few days. The bed has just been handweeded and watered and calendula , borage, planted along the edges.
Some of the onions doing well.
We got this years potatoes in yesterday to join the earlies. Half bed of Maris Piper, bed of Sarpo Mira, bed of Records and a bed of Roosters. This takes up 1/4 of the large rotation areas using the B.A.S.L. system. The beds were rotavated prior to planting so the soil is quite easy to work.
Planting some borage and nasturtiams on the ends of the rhubarb bed.
The benches are filling up with seedings for potting or planting.
This years legume area weeded and covered untill direct sown in May.
West facing hot wall with topfuit and soft fruit.
Mulching around the tunnel and Espaliers is going to make the job of “weeding” much simpler.
Comfrey awaiting planting into raised bed. We are sheet mulching using well lapped wet cardboard and putting compost soil mix atop to plant into. This is located beside the compost pile and can be used as an activator and for high potasium liquid feed good for fruiting crops.
We finally got round to hanging some 6 bird boxes around the site. The opening ideally facing between North and East shaded and at least 10 feet off ground using a variety of ope diameters from 24mm upward. Must make up a little bird feeder soon.
Onion and Broadbeans going well.
This part of the gardens has its own little microclimate sheltered from the South with glasshouses and protected from the North with a stone wall. The growth in this area is noticably earlier than in other parts of the garden. There was once lean too glasshouses along this South facing wall.
The carrots sown with radish are now ready for thinning and the radishes big enough to eat.
Strawberry alley is coming along nicely. The old leaves have been removed as they are replaced with new growth. Looking into Organic liquid feeds suitable for these.
Been going around looking at the flowers on the Ornamental Cherries and Apple trees in the garden. If the blossom has 5 styles (thats the shaft that the stigma sits on) then its Malus ( Apple family)or if one style its Prunus which includes Plum, peach ,Almond ,Cherry. Below a Shinseki Pear.
Slowly harvesting the chives cutting back to about an inch above soil. Will let these flower once cut.
Signs that the maturing compost might be ready for sieving and use include the germination of seeds. Probably tomatoes
Greenshaft pea have germinated
Potatoes Sante and Oca Chitted ready for planting now.
That last section was basically plants bursting into life or coming to maturity. This past week has seen much change. The earlies are up in the tunnel. The red basil ready for potting on, buds bursting everywhere one looks. Tis but a joy to witness.
Went for a wander this morning with my father along the Dodder. His latest thing is hoverflies. Below are some images of what we found on our wanderings. His advise was to walk a local route at least once a month looking at a particular habitat in this case a river side.Note down what you see there throughout the year and use something like the collins field guides to find what you cannot identify. It’s a bit of work but a good active way to learn about the flora and fauna. It’s also relevant to your day to day enjoyment of local walks.