Sunday, 18 April 2010

Planting Time

Finally the daffodils in my garden are coming out - this is my favourite, a white daffodil with an orange centre.
In the vegetable garden, it has been time to get going. Here is my shed, with assorted seeds in pots. The shed gets the sun from sunrise until lunchtime, so it's cosy in there for young plants. I've started pumpkin (Small Sugar), marrow (Tiger Cross) Cucumber (Crystal Apple) and Courgette (Partenon). They can grow on in the shed until they're big enough to go out.

In the foreground is a tray of beetroot (Egyptian Turnip-Rooted). All the books tell you that beetroot should be planted directly in the soil and not transplanted, but in the damp and chilly north-west I have found that a change in the weather can kill them. Two years ago we had an excellent crop, but last year they failed as the weather turned while they germinated. Beetroot originally grew in warmer climes, in thinner and stonier soil, so to start them inside in the warm is my compromise. I've split the seed as much as I can (the seeds clump together) and put a few in each pot. Once they're established I'll move them carefully into the prepared bed.
Mum went to the garden centre the other day and bought a couple of bush marrows to plant out now. Here's one - the other is under the cover next to it. I've had these mini-cloches some years now and they're very useful for large, frost sensitive plants at the start of the season. Made out of plastic, they have detachable ends and are fixed to the soil with metal pegs. We're still having cold nights and the wind can be chilly, so these will protect the marrows until it gets a bit warmer.
The first gooseberry flowers are out, the redcurrants and blackcurrants aren't far behind!

The broad beans (Claudia Superaquadulce) are poking their heads above the soil, one month after planting. You can see from the cracks in the ground that the soil surface is very dry, after a couple of weeks of no rain. It's still damp underneath though, so while I'm weeding I'm breaking up the surface at the same time to let the rain in when it finally comes.

Spring onions - actually I cheated with these as they came from the garden centre. Very naughty, but what the heck.
And here's a Christmas Cactus that has decided to be an Easter Cactus this year.

Finally I couldn't let today go past without a question - anyone know if volcano dust is or is not good for the soil? I've seen different points of view on this one.
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