I have to say that I'm thoroughly enjoying participating in the Garden Share Collective, hosted by Lizzie in Australia; not only can I read what other GSC writers are up to but I'm motivated to get on with doing things in the garden so I have something to show at the end of the month! I can therefore proudly report that I have been getting on with it this month, helped hugely by being able to get outdoors without a coat!
First up, balcony 'potting shed':
The greenhouse staging that I bought last month is a perfect fit for my tiny balcony, an area less than 1.5 square metres. I also bought a bunch of nifty seed trays at one of the RHS hort shows, perfect for setting up a Cut and Come Again salad bar - a few seedlings will be pricked out to be grown on as individual lettuces. They're the brown trays in the photo above and have a snap on water tray as part of each unit.
|From left: Golden Streaks mustard, rocket, Broadleaf mizuna|
In the Veg Garden:
Peas, courgettes (they finally appeared!), mange-tout, potatoes and a few of the sweet peas that were started on 11th March have been successfully planted out into the garden 10 days ago. I say successfully but I lost a courgette to slug attack; I noticed the nibblings and popped a cloche over the other one and brought the third back indoors (I only sowed three so that we didn't have a glut). A subsequent dusk slug hunt netted over 50 slugs of various sizes in 2 nights! That's the way to do it!
The broad/fava beans sown on 9th March are doing really well and now stand about 8 inches/20cm high. This cultivar (Karmazyn) grew to about 70cm last year so, if the weather holds, I expect to be seeing some flowers by the end of May.
After a long wait, only one of my module sown bush beans germinated. With the temperatures outside rising, I decided to sow a bed of beans outside. The seeds went in on the 20th and there's nothing to be seen yet. As my blog friend Flighty has been saying "Surely it's too early to plant beans?" I guess he's right!
Several times this past month a few neighbours have come out to help. Luckily we have different skills: I like planting (and being in charge!), Frank is terrifically good at digging, Karen enjoys weeding and replanting, the children like watering and sowing seeds. A very complementary set of skills! So, what did we achieve? lots of raspberry runners have now been removed and the beds dug over, a mature horseradish plant was dug out - a huge job, carried out by Frank - quince and honeyberries were potted up, fennel and sweet cicely moved, another small brick path was laid (by me!) so that I can reach the raspberries easily without walking on the soil, wigwams of canes were built ready for the climbers and dozens of self-seeded ornamentals were relocated by Karen, mostly foxgloves, cowslips, primroses, rudbeckia and day lilies … and, it goes without saying (sort of), lots of weeding!
|Clockwise from top left: Strawberries, cherries, tiny lemons, gooseberry bush, raspberries, honeyberries.|
So that's where we are at the end of April. Going into May I still need to find the time to fence around the veg patch island which Frank has promised to help with. Crops still to sow outside are beetroot, carrots, salad onions; I have 3 40-cell trays waiting to receive flower seeds and I want to start off some climbing beans and more squash indoors. Hopefully I'll be potting on my tomatoes by the end of the month and able to start off some basil and other herbs on the balcony.
Till next time, I'll leave you with a glimpse of my veg patch flowers this week - there's a purple theme going on and the lovely tulips are finally on their way out (although I may have a few more to come in May!). Happy gardening - and congratulations to our host Lizzie on the birth of her baby daughter!