It’s been all go-go-go in April so we think we have pretty much caught up with all the work – a big thank you to all who have been turning out in force to give us a hand! Everything is absolutely thriving:)
The new, giant potato bed is all planted up now, after lots of work levelling and improving the soil, and rather super heroic effort of trench excavation. Peter reveals some of our ‘muck and magic’ secrets for soil preparation in his newest vlog here. The perennial corner of the bed’s gained a couple of new plants too – chives and a few rhubarb crowns.
Last year’s potato bed is being filled too – first up are a few rows of broad bean plants we have brought on at the polytunnel. Peter and Bill have put up sturdy supports ready for sowing climbing peas and mangetout.
The pumpkin patch hill nextdoor has been covered with a large pile of donated horse muck with straw – all it needs is a bit of a good soak and a cover and it’ll be ready for those pumpkin seedlings!
Unfortunately, the long cold spring followed by hot weather has meant that our winter crop of the romanesco broccoli and spring cabbages started bolting and trying to flower prematurely. We have had to lift those and salvage as much as possible before composting the rest. On the other hand, the purple sprouting broccoli is still going strong, and remains well protected from the pigeons. We also have silverbeet, lots of different herbs and, in the polytunnel, beautiful peppery salads, radishes and baby spinach. Just come by the Garden and get something fresh for your tea!
The ground’s warmed up enough to do lots of sowing outdoors – parsley, carrots, salads are all germinating nicely. We replaced our frosted onion sets so there should be plenty of onions and shallots later in the year. We have also sown our annual and get-nectar-rich quick wildflower mixes from ScotiaSeeds along the path and the burn – can’t wait for all the summer pollinator buzz they will bring to the garden.
The gooseberry and currant bushes in the fruiting hedge along the fence are in full flower, and apple trees are not too far behind. The apricots in the bed against the shed have had a go as well but it looks like it was too cold for pollinators to do their job so no fruit from them this year.
In the polytunnel we have had lots of pricking out and potting on – tomatoes, peppers, chillies, brassicas are all growing like mad. New wave of seeds are germinating – you should see all the beans, corn, spinach, spring onion and sunflowers go. We have some spare seedlings of broccoli, purple sprouting broccoli, romanesco, cauliflower, and cabbage so please come and get some for your own patch! There will be others available soon, including a range of tomato plants, so let us know if you’d like some and we will put them in reserve.
Zach, Hamish, Noah and Harry from the childminders group have been very busy planting and caring for their own mini-gardens – this month they created a bug hotel strawberry patch and black bin potato farm. Their lovely, lush green pea shoots, sown in March, were ready to go home to use in salads.
We even managed to get out of the Garden again for an interesting bit of saltmarsh gardening with Green Shores project at the Tayport East Common and for a quick tidy up of the perennial wildflower border at our Fruit Tree Walk at Scotscraig Drive roundabout.
On the flower front it’s hard to miss the splendid tulips in the annual border and the daffodils in the lawn. Our tireless Eryngium ‘Bowles Mauve’ gives a beautiful splash of purple to the perennial border, and the exotic Grevillea is about to join it with its unusual, spidery red flowers. And if you look around more closely, you will see a whole riot of colour from lots of smaller wildflowers: cowslips, mouse ear, thale cress, snakeskin fritillaries, daisies, dead nettle, speedwell, dandelions, forget-me-nots, celandine and marsh marigolds!
Last month has been a boon for wildlife sightings too. Our ‘Seen this month’ board is bursting at the seams. Among the more exciting visitors have been first bumblebee queens emerging from winter hibernation and looking for nest sites – buff-tail, early and white tail bumblebees among them. Butterflies have been about too, including small tortoiseshells, peacock and the dreaded small cabbage white. If you’d like to learn more about bumblebees and how to identify them, join our monthly Sunday BeeWalk with Kaska. Look out for the announcement of the dates in the next enewsletter.
But it’s the sea eagle, spotted by Peter on top of the neighbouring Leylandii hedge the other day, which does take the prize for the most unusual garden visitor to date!
That’s all for April – it should be even more fun in May! Pop in during usual open gardening sessions on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday or join us for the Spring Fair fun on Sunday, 27th of May.