Signs of Spring
I’ve been busy in the garden recently, but mainly in the kitchen and conservatory, sowing seeds and transplanting seedlings. I jumped the gun a bit with some of them because I was eager to get started, but so far they have survived my over-eagerness and stayed alive!
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve sown carrots in toilet roll inners that I saved up, so that the roots would have room to grow down as quickly as needed. As soon as I was able after they sprouted, I moved them to the conservatory under a cloche to give them plenty of light. I kept them there as long as possible, but this week moved them into their allotted square of the raised bed, because they needed more root space. It’s still a bit risky for that, so I made cloches for them out of 2 litre water bottles, cutting them in half to create 2 cloches per bottle.
Cucumbers were also amongst the first things I planted, much to others’ horror. Too early, and they got leggy very quickly. A move to large yoghurt pots, saved for the purpose and a new location from sunny windowsill to mini-greenhouse-in-the-conservatory and they have developed nicely, no longer leggy, but looking stronger. Thank goodness I spotted a really good deal on a mini greenhouse in Wilko’s! It’s been a boon for giving all the seedlings space and light enough to grow. It also meant I had to to do a complete overhaul of the conservatory, which is the children’s playroom, to make space for it, so now that room is nice and tidy, and I have space for plants too! The now-more-robust cucumbers will be moving to the garden soon, under home made cloches again.
I took great delight in planting peas, strange, since I don’t actually like them. But two of the kids do, and PK and I both like mangetout and sugar snap, so I planted enough for a square of each – 8 or 9 plants of each! The sugar snaps are not doing well at all, and I’m going to sow more and see if I can do better, but the peas and mangetout have taken off – so much so that I’ve had to move them out to the garden too – they were too big for indoors. I made teepees (teepeas?) for them to grow up. Originally, I was going to do that from bamboo canes, which are sitting waiting to be used, but then a friend came to cut back the laurel and privet growing wild in the back garden and there were lots of useful sized branches so I used those to create the structures instead.
I also used the cut off branches to re-create the grids on my beds. I’d done them with string, but next doors’ pets – cat on one side, dog on the other, kept coming into our garden and breaking the grids, so I’ve done them with branches instead. It’s rather a rustic look, but I don’t mind that at all. I’m not looking for chic-gardening awards, just a garden I can grow food in!
Elsewhere in the garden, the garlic I planted last month has grown and is peeping above the soil in three of the four beds it was planted in. The fourth is not showing any signs of growth, but it’s also the one next door’s dog dug through, so I’ll just have to wait and see what happens there. The radishes sown straight into the bed have sprouted, and the herb garden, which has last year’s parsley (really struggling) and rosemary (doing a bit better) in it, has some unexpected growth – snowdrops have made their way through and are gracing the back of the bed. I’ve also found some beautiful flowers, which Google tells me are Star of Jerusalem, growing along one edge of the patio this week. Spring is here! I also noticed lots of new buds on the old raspberries and blackberries at the end of the garden. It remains to be seen what will happen with those, as they have received a very severe trim – they were encroaching on the rest of the garden and threatening to take over the little Granny Smith tree bravely growing there (which has lots of signs of new growth), so they fell victim to my shears, I’m afraid.
Strawberries from last year are showing signs of coming back, and the seeds I planted indoors have sprouted, but they’re nowhere near big enough to move yet. We’ll have a whole bed of strawberries this year, I hope.
What’s going on in your garden?