Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Spring, Winter, which is it?

 The temperatures had risen, the soil had warmed up and dried well so it was time to put the potatoes in.  Several trenches dug, to the delight of my allotment robin who bobbed about picking morsels out of the soil.
 I don't grow early potatoes anymore as our climate is just too variable - we are increasingly prone to very cold spells in the spring.  So these are maincrop - Desiree and Cara.  They're safely in now and under the soil which is just as well given the cold snap we now have.
 I tried the rhubarb but it isn't quite at its best yet, will try again later this week.
 Beetroot is either great or dreadful for me.  This year I have tried a method given me by another grower, to just create a divot in the soil with a stick or dibber, put the seeds in and cover them over with a little soil.  These are under a cloche now.  They seem to like it drier.
 It's nice to have some colour around the house now.
 My favourite white daffodils are the last to flower.
 All the pictures above were taken last week in the warm weather.  Now it is freezing, we had sleet last night and hard frost the last few nights.  Naturally my plum tree chose this time to start flowering, so I really don't know how many plums will set this year.  We'll have to wait and see.
The germination of my broad beans has been quite poor, unusually so.  It could be the long dry spell, it's hard to know.  Yesterday I filled in the gaps with spare beans and we had heavy rain afterwards so I hope they will grow better.  Strange weather, but it looks like being on the chilly side for the next week or two so I will probably hang back with sowing the tender plants.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Spring 2015 finally arrives!

 In the last couple of weeks we have gone straight from winter to spring almost overnight.
 On the vegetable plot there has been much digging to do, above is an example of my heavy clay soil - you can see the clods of orangey clay in there.  I have three beds like this, they are at the bottom of a slope so prone to getting very wet, and we have had wet summers recently.  In autumn I piled manure and compost on these beds to improve them, this has rotted down over winter and I've now dug it in.
 The skies have been fairly blue recently so the soil has warmed up nicely, particularly under my cloches.  The starlings have moved into my roof edge to nest so it must be spring.
 With the broad beans and garlic already in, I decided to move on to other plantings.  I had left space along the edge of the garlic for these seeds - parsley, lettuce and rocket.   They have been in for a week now and are germinating well under the cloche.
 The garlic has come up quickly but I'm leaving it under the cloche for now.
 One of the rhubarb plants is not far off picking.
 Though the plum tree is still very bare...
 ... the early apples are budding well...
 ... the currants and gooseberries are putting out flower buds too.
 In addition to the lettuce, I have also done a first planting of spinach in a small bed next to the rhubarb.  I have planted in a bit of a pattern, with perpetual spinach round the outside, and orange chard in the middle, in a square.  Hope it turns out geometric!
 The robin on my plot is my constant companion while digging, helping himself to the goodies I uncover.  As you can see in this action shot, he does come very close!
I am happy to help as he now has a young family in a nearby shed, curiously his mate has her territory round that shed, while he always comes back to my plot for food.  Here he is among my cut off raspberry canes, I'm looking forward to seeing young robins soon.