Thursday 16 May 2019

Watching and waiting

As for most gardeners, there is always a big flurry of activity in my garden during Spring - preparing ground, spreading compost, sowing, planting etc, but then at some stage comes a short lull before harvesting begins in earnest. I have now reached that stage. Everything I want to grow this year, with the exception of successionally-sown crops like lettuce and radishes, has been sowed or planted and there's no room for anything else. Time for a pause; a pause in which to just revel in watching things grow and gradually fill-out. A few weeks ago the garden looked bare, but now the bare soil is rapidly vanishing! I just have to be patient and let Mother Nature do her thing.

As well as "watching things grow", I have been keenly watching the weather forecast. I have lots of tender young tomato and chilli plants in small pots and I'm just itching to pot them up into their final homes.

This is only SOME of them!

The trouble is that whilst we have had a spell of beautiful sunny weather and daytime temperatures in the high teens / low twenties, the nights have still been bitterly cold - down to 3 or 4C most nights this past week. Temperatures like that are not good for tomatoes or chillis, so I have had to keep bringing my plants indoors at night-time, or at very least keeping them in closed coldframes.

Tomatoes and chillis in my big coldframe

Once the plants go into the big pots and containers that will be their final homes they will not have this opportunity any more, so I have been biding my time. It looks as if that time is just about to arrive though, with the forecast predicting night temperatures of 9, 10 or 11 for the next few days at least. After that, really cold nights are much less likely. I've assembled pots, canes, fertiliser etc, and I'm just awaiting the right moment to start.

This is one more little job I have done in anticipation of warmer weather... I have erected a support-frame for my cucumbers to climb, using some of my recently-acquired Hazel poles. These ones were nominally 6-foot ones, but they are actually nearer 7-foot, so allowing for some of that being underground, the cucumbers will have at least five and a half feet of vertical distance to play with.

The green container is half of an old water-butt

Of course, after so much sowing and planting, I'm very eager to start harvesting something. I always sow lots of radishes, not least because they grow very quickly compared to other crops (but not quickly enough for my liking!). The first of mine are just beginning to swell, so hopefully they will be ready for cropping within the next week or ten days.

The First Early potatoes are not far off maturity either. I'll be harvesting the first of them very small, so this will probably be in the first few days of June.

Do you remember that the other day I cut down my PSB plants and put them in a bucket of water, in order to allow the flowers to open fully and make them available for the bees? Well, this idea worked a treat, and the bees have had a feast:


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