It’s been such a dry month! Cathy tells us that rainfall this April stands at around 4mm, massively lower than the usual 45mm (and this worrying dry trend seems to be UK-wide). And we got absolutely nothing in May so far either! The low rainfall and the high winds meant a lot of watering outside as well as inside of the polytunnel. Thank you so much to all of the volunteers who have been helping with that. We are all hoping for a good soak soon – although the forecast does not seem to look very promising:(
When the rain comes we will be ready to take advantage of it by collecting it into our water butts as Will and Dave have just finished installing our polytunnel collection system. Great work guys!
We’ve had a great volunteer turnout over the last two Sundays and during the week which in addition to contributions from the Primary, Brownies, Caley and Childminders groups has helped tremedously with this busy time at the Garden.
All tatties are now planted out and those in our massive tattie bed outside are showing their leaves. Some of our super-early potatoes in the polytunnel are flowering and should be harvestable by the end of May/early June so keep an eye out for announcements about tattie tasting and sales.
We have transplanted our heat-loving tomato, chilli and eggplant seedlings from trays into pots in the polytunnel. Our exotic okra seems to be doing well too.
The next round of tender plants (maize, runner beans, French beans, cucumbers, basil) are all now germinating in their small pots and trays in the cozy greenhouse. Have a look at Peter’s recent vlog for some sowing tips for beans and corn. We have also just sown some cucamelons – another exciting exotic vegetable to try this year!:)
We’ve given away some spare brassica seedlings from the polytunnel last weekend after filling in our own outside beds with kale, red cabbage, purple sprouting broccoli and cauliflower (they all needed covering with fleece to keep them from dring out in the wind). Thanks to all who have given them new homes – we are keen to see how they are doing so please send us some updates via Facebook or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). We will continue to have spare seedlings over the next couple of months – including the greenhouse crops such as tomatoes, chillies and cucumbers. So keep an eye out for notices on Facebook/blog for announcements.
Outside we have sown the peas (a replacement for those devoured by the pigeons last month), beetroot, carrots and annual herbs (dill, anise, coriander and parsley). The salady crops include lettuce, pak choy, and chicory.
Bunches of daffodils and tulips from our cut flower bed at the Garden gate were very popular at the Spring Fare produce stall. Their bulbs have just been lifted – you can pick some up from us if you’d like to recycle them in your own garden. In their place we have planted an exciting range of summer cut flowers: gladioli, irises, alliums and, a rather mysterious Triteleia (Peter promises it’s a very beautiful flower).
The weedy border along the fence next to the polytunnel has also been tidied up and the Primary students have done a great job of sowing some wild flowers there. Our pollinators should be well-fed this year!
Peter has even managed to squeeze in some quality alone time with the sensory border so it now has a couple more plants in it – at the boggy end next to the living willow tunnel. There are two types of iris, some yellow and red flowered geums, and of course the spectacular giant – Gunnera. We say ‘boggy’ but it looks more like a dustbowl out there instead of the usual happy mud bath due to the lack of rain…Despite that dryness we have had a nice display from the snakeshead fritillary we’d planted in the lawn last year.
To top off the exciting month we’ve also had a delivery of a worm composter, alongside a packet of live earthworms. The worms were so keen to get to work that they made an attempt at a great escape as soon as Jenny opened the parcel…Thankfully they did not get far before getting intercepted. They are now safely tucked away in their wormery home in the polytunnel, getting settled in on a light diet, before we start feeding them some real food scraps. The compost and ‘juice’ they produce is said to be quite miraculous for soil fertility…Can’t wait to try them out!
That’s all folks – till the next time. Hope you get a chance to pop by the Garden this month:)