April is supposed to be the busiest month of the year in the garden, getting everything ready for a new growing year - and sowing seeds! Here I am though, sitting indoors again, listening to the wind howling round the house and dejectedly looking out onto my raised beds which are currently full of --- potential, aka bare earth. Dry earth too. It has been dessicated by the unremitting blasts of cold Easterly wind. When I do finally get the chance ot sow some seeds I will probably have to water the beds thoroughly beforehand.
All the preparations are made: I have bought all the seeds I need, sorted out all the pots for growing chillis and tomatoes, sent off for some more cane-supports, re-stocked my supply of compost and pelleted chicken manure, etc, etc. But there is only so much preparation a serious gardener will tolerate, and I just HAD to sow something. I tried this first - some peas in little tubs of compost, to produce peashoots for salad:
Notice how neatly lined-up the peas are - I had plenty of time on my hands! But this little lot hardly counts, does it? I needed something more ambitious.
In the garage I had a large plastic box that had formerly been used for kerbside glass re-cycling, in which I had earlier drilled some drainage holes. I filled it with a layer of stones (to assist drainage), a layer of garden soil and a layer of commercial compost, and watered it well. On to this I sowed a mixture of various salad-style seeds: several kinds of lettuce, rocket, corn salad, cress, and beetroot, and covered it with a final (very thin) layer of dry compost. Then it went into the garage to join all the other similar items that have been accumulating there these past 10 days.
I'm hoping that by the time the seeds have germinated the weather will have improved enough to allow me to put this box outside in the garden. Notice how I only filled the box to about two-thirds of its depth: this will provide a bit of shelter from the wind for the small seedlings, when they emerge.
Well, that was a step up from the peas, to be sure, but still not much of a challenge to a seasoned campaigner like me. This is more the sort of thing I had in mind:
I would like to be able to tell you that this neat-looking raised bed is fully stocked with seeds for all sorts of lovely veg, but sadly that is not the case. I had been meaning to sow my Beetroot, Parsnip and Turnip seeds some time over the Easter weekend, but the weather was just not suitable, so I have had to content myself with preparing it for sowing. I dug it over lightly with a trowel, and raked it until the surface was "a fine tilth", as the saying goes. What this means is that all the bug lumps of soil have been broken down into smaller pieces, and any unwanted debris such as twigs has been removed. I then watered the part in which I had been intending to sow the first seeds, and I even covered it with protective wire grilles. I did everything in fact, apart from sowing any seeds! Well, I suppose the fact that it is all ready to go when a seed-sowing opportunity finally does arrive has to be seen as a positive achievement...
Then of course there is this - the biggest waste of space my garden has ever witnessed:
I don't mean "waste of space" in a derogatory way; I mean it in the literal way. That beautiful big Woodblocx raised bed has been lying idle since I built it last October. I'm dying to grow something in it, but I really want its first crops to be tomatoes and cucumbers, and there's absolutely no way I can plant those just yet. They say that what's worth having is worth waiting for -- so I sincerely hope this is true!!