Sunday, 6 April 2008

April Snowers ! 6.04.08

Welcome back folks to Reads Retreat, my guide to Growing your own Veg in Raised Beds.
Forgive me the title - it's not a typing error! Having just glanced out over the plot I can tell you it's snowing. Not blizzard-esque conditions, but it looks like we might get a fair covering. The sky looks full of it! A call from the outlaws 30 miles away in Strood informed me they've had a good few inches overnight , and it's still persisting.

Hard to believe really when you consider Thursday peaked at 18C, while i toiled away on the plot:

I started by partially clearing the Raised Bed that was planted with curly kale. Removing the mulch fabric I was pleasantly surprised to find the soil virtually weed free. The Curly Leaf Kale was all uprooted and replanted at one end of the bed. The rest of the space was then raked over, and followed by a dusting of Fish, Blood & Bone, which was then raked into the surface.

I then planted up my onion sets, consisting of 3 rows of Stuttgarter Giant, 1 row of Leeks ( v. Musselburgh grown from seed), and 3 further rows of Red Karmen. There's still room in the bed for a couple more rows of Leeks, which I will be planting later in the week. The transplanted Kale have all seemingly survived being moved, and are all doing great - no drooping leaves! The whole bed was then well watered, and has now been left to settle. It's important to remember over the next few weeks to weed on a daily basis, so that the onions have no competition for moisture. I use a hand hoe for this, taking great care not to disturb the sets.

The strawberries in the hanging basket are flourishing, lots of new shoots and strong growth. Let's hope these are a success!

Rhubarb (v. Timperley Early) is now open to the elements, as I have now removed the forcing bin, and is putting on some strong green growth as it toughens up. I have read elsewhere that you can continue forcing a crop, but i dont want to weaken the crown - it's still only a year old. The second crown I planted a few weeks back (v. Holsteiner ) is not doing much yet! The leaves have not died away so I guess it is putting down roots ? Hope so.

No show on the newly planted spuds yet, a bit soon maybe ! Hope to plant some more up this week, and get my barrel ready to plant the second earlies in.

Next main job was the first cut of the lawn. The nitrogen rich trimmings went straight into the compost bin, together with some compost accelerator. It's full of worms in there - a good sign.

The other small task i completed on the plot was to sow a "thick" row of Marigold seeds next to the Broad Beans. These are planted mainly to deter the blackfly, but as already stated in a previous posting, the flower leaves are edible and brighten up the salad bowl a treat. And as a bonus, there will be a spray of colour amidst the greenery!

Meanwhile indoors:
  • The Savoy Cabbage seeds have still not germinated, and my hopes for these are dwindling. Very soon I will have to go and buy some "plugs" of cabbage, but i will still sow more seeds.
  • My Flat Leaf Parsley seeds are all now germinated, as the propagator was moved to a warmer spot! Putting on good growth now, and the lid is removed daily so that more light reaches the emerging seedlings.
  • All potted on seedlings continue to put on good growth, the toms especially will soon be ready for hardening off / planting out.
I'm a bit behind in some respects i.e. have yet to get my Runner / French beans planted up. Maybe i can find an hour to get this job underway ?

Still loads to do, and my 12 days holiday finish today. Back to grind 6.00am tomorrow!
Hope your gardens are still going well. Drop me a line or send a comment, it's always nice to hear from you.

Till next time, take care all and enjoy your gardens,



chey said...

I love your photo! Those look like very BIG snowflakes. Hope your plants tolerated the snow!

Matron said...

The weather has been strange, hasn't it? Tshirts and sitting in the sun 62degrees one day, then snow the next!
Do take care of your rhubarb. If it is only 1 year old it really can't stand being forced yet. I usually pick leaves till about June then stop completely allowing the crown time to bulk up and recover. Treat is just like you do the asparagus crowns.