It’s been a real roller coaster of a month with the weather…but the word has it that all the beasts from the East or elsewhere may be done with us. Here comes the spring!
In between all the blizzardy days last month we actually managed to get quite a lot done at the Garden too.
One unfortunate victim to the cold spring are our super early tatties at the polytunnel. Peter’s decided that they will not get a chance to mature before we have to put in our summer crops and so they had to be carefully extracted. Not to worry though – they are happily chitting alongside the others under a cosy fleece to protect them from an occasional frost. We have 31 varieties this year (full list coming soon)!
The few days of sunshine really did warm up the polytunnel and everything we’d sown so far is doing very nicely. Winter salads and Chinese greens are growing like weeds, we’ve had good germination from sweet peas and broad beans, Brassicas and lettuce. Some recently sown quick crops in the other polytunnel beds are poking their heads through the dirt too (including several rows of spinach – Peter’s favourite;). No action from sunflowers as yet but it’s early days…
So the watering season has started already and we are very glad of the weekly help from childminder group kids. They are also helping with other gardening tasks – growing cut and come again peashoots and helping save last years Nigella seeds.
Our massive veggie and wildflower seed orders have both turned up and Peter’s started planning the sowing schedule for the year. How exciting!
One major development outside is the massive new ground bed, merging several of the smaller ones so that we can use the space more efficiently. Lots of hard work, turf cutter and digger were all involved. Now we are spreading additional topsoil (thanks again, St Michaels Tippers) to get it ready. And you guessed it – this is where all the tatties will go this year!
The turf will not go to waste – we are using it, along with horse manure, to build a bigger and better pumpkin hill!
We also topped many of the empty raised beds with organic compost and covered them with weed-matts to heat the soil up ready for spring plantings. The netting over the Brassica beds was reinforced against pigeons – hopefully that will hold them at bay! Sadly, we’ve had a few casualties of the spring frosts – the onion sets have been almost entirely demolished and several of the perennials in the sensory border look a bit worse for wear. But all the garlic, sprouts, cabbages and purple sprouting broccoli seem to be quite happy.
Our solar-powered water pump system is one step closer too – Will’s just dropped off his DIY frame for the solar panels to be installed on the green shed roof.
The occasional sunshine is bringing out the spring wildflowers – we have coltsfoot and first dandelions coming through. And a field of crocuses we planted last year in the biodiversity corner is creating a lovely splash of colour, ready to feed the bumblebee queens when they finally emerge this year. The ‘upcycled’ tulips and crocuses in the second sensory border are poking their heads though as well. But the daffodils planted along the burn seem to have gone AWOL…Peter’s a wee bit mystified by that one…
On the wildlife front we have had lots of bird visitors, including a black cap – a real harbinger of spring. We also heard the woodpecker again – hammering away in the trees over the old curling pond.
Despite all the abysmal wintry weather, we have spotted all but two of the signs of spring on our list from Show The Love event in February…would you believe that we spotted peacock butterflies flying about after emerging from hibernation a couple of weeks ago?
We managed to get out to the Fruit Tree Walk as well for a very informative and productive fruit bush pruning session with Peter – you can find all his pruning tips in the workshop vlog.
With the weather improving now, we are looking forward to cranking it up a notch on the gardening front – and to seeing you all around more!