25 April 2010

April showers

I should really be grateful for any rain, but I called it a day today come the 3rd shower. It's been pretty hot in the sun, but once the cloud cover came the temperature soon dropped and I decided today was a day for being a fair weather gardener!

In between showers, there seem to be a lot of bumble bees around this year and I finally had the presence of mind to both take the camera, and use it up on plot no 2! Despite it not playing ball I managed to get one decent shot:

Prior to that I was attempting to get rid of some of the weeds and clear some space to plant my beans this year. It's dry on that plot on the top of the hill at the best of times, but at the moment it's like digging sand, there's absolutely no moisture in the soil at all. On the plus side it's easy to dig the weeds out I guess.

I still had a couple of trays of onions to plant out and wanted to plant some carrots, so I raked over a patch of soil to within at inch of its life - not to get it to a 'fine tilth' (not too dificult at the moment) but to get rid of the majority of the stones. Just after I watered the drill I'd created for the carrot seeds it started raining again...

I managed to plant a third of a row of radish, carrots and beetroot as well as the two trays of onions:

I also dug over about half of the remaining bed to be sorted out for the beans and added some rock dust before wandering off home for tea, rather wet.

18 April 2010

Time to plant something out!

I'm a little behind with the planting this year, and not just due to the cold weather. So to plant the rest of my potatoes out on plot no 2 I enlisted help:

They did need a little pursuading, but once 'on site' they got stuck in:

Well one of them did, his sister taking a more supervisory role:

We did manage to get in the rest of the potatoes: 3 rows of Romeo and 1 and a half Pink Fir Apple. The onions will have to wait for another day as I volunteered to go on a site inspection (long story!) on the other site. Almost 3 hours later trying to figure out the worlds most bizarre alltoment numbering system - and a lot of chatting! - we were done:

We never did find plot no 174 (bottom right of the map), lost to the wilderness.

Today I managed to plant out 3 rows of broad beans and a few rows of onions and shallots - all of which had been started off at home in toilet rolls (aka root trainers) for the broad beans and modules for the onions and shallots, which allowed them to get a start and put down roots before planting out. And for me to prepare the ground...

It is incredibly dry at the moment on the plots so I gave all the new plants a good soaking once them were in, as well as watering the garlic and newly planted strawberries. Fortunately the 'streams' running through the site are still plentiful since the water is not on yet.

7 April 2010

Plants everywhere!

As usual I'm late as ever potting on the plants from the propagator and lost a few. However when I did get round to potting them up I still have 44 plants of 4 different types of chillies! Having run out of plant pots - something I thought I'd never do, but sadly many of them perished in the greenhouse fire - so I bought another 48 cheap pots thinking that would be more than enough...

No. 1 child decided he wanted to come for a dig to see where the patch of ground I promised him is. He then proceded to dig a big hole whilst I pruned some raspberries and attempted to weed around the rhubarb on plot no 2. A quick tour round the plot with him revealed the ground elder making a come back in the warmer weather, the frogs have been, erm 'busy', as there's lots of frogspawn around, and indignation from no. 1 child when he saw the state of the greenhouse. "Why have the police not caught them?" he demanded to know. Sadly he got bored before I was able to do much else.

Some time later after lunch I went to plot no. 1 to plant a couple of rows of potatoes. I added to a few handfulls of chicken manure pellets to the bottom of the trench, then some shredded paper which I watered well, followed by some bagged manure (I know, I know), then the potatoes - Charlottes. They should have the best possible start with that lot.

After the hard work of the digging I thought I'd take it easier and clear up the strawberry bed. An hour later I'd worked my way down half of it - there were a few more weeds in there that I realised. The plants had also thrown out a few runners - a bucket full - but given the state of the bed it's difficult to tell which are the Gariguette and which are the Chelsea Pensioner. So I took them home to pot up and promptly used up the 48 pots I'd bought earlier...

First produced of the year!
Picked the first (forced) rhubarb of the year. Despite the fact I seem to be forcing the same crown as last year, it seems to be doing OK and it looks as good as ever: