Friday, 29 March 2013

progress report

Progress report

It seems like we've had bitter east winds for months on end and then the recent snowfall has put paid to any thoughts of getting much done to the veg plot for a while. Late March is usually the start of things getting busy but I've done very little apart from aimless pottering and thumb twiddling. Because I don't dig I apply thick mulches in autumn the plot has only needed a rake over and a bit of light weeding to get it ready and waiting for this year's crops.

Some things are moving in the greenhouse, but slowly as there is just not enough warmth in there to encourage growth. Potatoes were growing away nicely but they seem to have stalled so I won't be getting a crop as early as previous years.
5 spuds in a fish box

Container peas and beans are through, as are the first tubs of carrots and beetroot but I have very little room left for seedling trays unless I can get stuff potted up or planted out.
broad beans

broccoli seedlings
Checking back through my gardening diaries I note that in some previous years I was putting my tomato plants out into the greenhouse in April. Not much chance of that this year as I haven't even potted up the poor little things yet.

I really feel sorry for those new to growing who started last year and suffered the terrible summer we had only to find midwinter conditions at Easter this year. Still, there are few things in life that are easy. I guess it's  in the human spirit not to admit defeat and to keep hoping that things will get better. Roll on flaming June!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

they're off

The potatoes in the greenhouse are poking their shoots above the compost and I have plenty of fleece handy should we get a prolonged cold spell.

Container peas and radishes are also shooting up and the overwintered spring onions are at the stage where they can be pulled for chopping up into sandwiches. Even though I've been growing stuff for donkey's years I still get a thrill from seeing the new season's life emerging.
pea shoots
The first sowings of tomatoes and peppers are now in the heated propagator but I'll hold off with the cucumbers till next month. Past failures have taught me that sowing cukes too early inevitably results in failure.

Almost three weeks of dry, if rather cold weather has allowed me to catch up with many of the jobs held over from last year. The veg. patch is looking pretty good and is ready for its new occupants when conditions are right. I have some shallots and onion sets in the ground but it's still too early for much else.

I had a shredding day and made a start on the pile of prunings that I keep as a winter home for critters. I've no idea what lives in there but we seem to have a healthy population of hedgehogs and frogs round here so if I can help them out it seems reasonable to do so. Ended up with a sack of chipped wood which I'll mix with grass clippings and chicken manure to give me some reasonable compost for next year.With all the scares about contaminated manures it seems sensible to produce as much of your own stuff as possible. 

The geese which overwinter on the marshes here are now gathering in huge flocks before setting off back to their home above the arctic circle. The sight of several thousand large birds all taking to the air at once is really impressive and more than makes up for the fact that our nearest supermarket is fifteen miles away.