Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Ah, the Sun...

 I promised more pictures of my Himalayan Poppy in bloom, and here it is.  Flower no 4 is now out, and the plant has a lovely head of blooms.
I love this time of year, as the trees are all putting out various shades of green.  This conifer has lime green tips to its dark green foliage and looks spectacular.
On the allotment, the arrival of warmer weather (finally) has now meant we can get on with sowing.  Here the main crop of peas is going in.  I did plant some earlier, but it was still cold and only a few germinated, so this bed is going to be our main source of peas.

 I also planted out my windowsill-grown lettuces, parsley, coriander and spring onions, will sow some more in this bed soon.
 And that brings me to my first experiment for this year.  These are marrow seeds, which I saved from last year's fruits.  Normally I plant these in pots indoors, but because I have so many seeds decided to attempt to grow them outside under a cloche.  I've done the same with some pumpkins, to see how they do.  Of course, the big problem with these plantings is the slug population, which leads on to experiment 2.....
 I use composted cat litter (sawdust base) as a soil conditioner on my heavy clay soil.  I leave it for about 2 years so the worms and weather can get at it, it's been really useful.  But I have noticed that where clumps of it persist on the surface, the slugs can't travel across it, so I wondered if it would act as a slug repellant.  I therefore surrounded my plantings with a ring of fresh and dry cat litter.  We'll see if it works!
 At present my home is still hosting my annual starling guests under the roof. The parents are keen to get the youngsters out and are working like crazy to keep them fed.  The youngsters don't seem to want to leave.
 Here's one, squawking outside the hole.  I've been expecting them to go ever since the weather turned warmer, hope it will be tomorrow morning.  When they leave here the parents will spend a few days moving them gradually upwards to the moorland nearby, where an enormous starling creche/flock spends the summer months feeding before coming back to the valley for the winter.
The hawthorn is now flowering, so summer has arrived.  If you look carefully in the centre of this picture you can see a robin singing vigorously.

Hope the weather is as good where you are!
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