April 2005

Most of the work over the last few weeks has been done in the polytunnels. Clearing away after last year's crops, weeding, spreading compost, and rotavating; as well as caring for the over wintered salads.

The early carrots are up and look very promising - look for these in early/mid June.
The early leeks have germinated well in their seed bed and it looks as if we will have more of this variety 'Hannibal' to plant than last year.

All the spuds are in the ground: this year we are trying a new First Early variety called Orla - let us know what you think. The change was forced by supply problems.

We've still not managed to sow anything outside yet (1/4/05) apart from broad beans. Much of the soil in the garden is still too moist under the surface - the clay content just over 20% and the recent rains -so trying to bury the over wintered green manure with a rotavator becomes a sticky business.

Our first lettuce of the year started to harvest over the Easter weekend and the spinach beet and swiss chard, over wintered in the tunnels, have performed well.
The over wintered onions, normally grown in the field but suffering significant losses, have done much better in the more protected environment of the garden and come June should show a much better weight.

The spring greens are here now.

The tomatoes are shooting up and, as I was gently reminded today, need moving on into their 9cm pots before they get leggy and therefore more prone to fungal infections which can be a problem this time of year.

The main crop white onions (sets) were planted last week and as I write the red ones are in transit and should, if the weather holds, be in the ground by the end of the week.
This summer the sweet corn will be grown in the field rather than the garden for the first time. The plan is to grow more, but this is a bit of an experiment as whenever it's been sown (rather than planted from modules) in the garden the slugs have eaten the lot….. time will tell.

Asparagus update - one year on, plants grew well over the summer and have been mulched and weeded this spring. Waiting to see how well they over wintered - was it too damp under foot?

The fruit bushes are about to burst in to life. They'll get their annual muck and mulch any time now and the beds are now ready for the new strawberry plants that are due next week. Keith

Garden Propagating

We are now several weeks into my third season in the garden and the young vegetable plants are already advanced. Each morning I tour the propagation tunnel and glass house to ventilate and water all the plants. I always have one eye on the very changeable weather conditions, its surprising how much a short burst of sun can dry out some plants so generally I make my rounds very regularly throughout the day to make sure all my babies are watered, happy and healthy. At the end of the day the plants are 'put to bed' meaning covering them with fleece, closing the hot bed sides and closing the tunnels to protect them from the cold and the wind. Louise.


Everything is bursting into life again on the fruit plot. At the end of February we had a couple of sunny days to do the pruning and were well pleased with the results. The gooseberry, red and blackcurrant bushes are really establishing and taking shape now, the planting strips have been weeded to reduce the couch invasion and are now awaiting a good dose of well rotted manure. (courtesy of the farm). The regular dressing with this is gradually improving the soil as well as aiding fruit production. We plan to plant more Autumn Bliss raspberries this year as they are such a useful crop. I hope some of you found the surplus we managed to freeze for sale over the winter. The strawberries are 'greening up' and we have ground ready and mulch laid to receive new plants which will be arriving mid April.

Unfortunately we lost a lot of the crop last year due to the wet autumn. Maybe better luck this year?

I am afraid we still haven't got rhubarb this year, it was moved hastily two years ago to a very poor site to make way for the new tunnels and it is not doing well! However it is marked urgent this year and an area is planned and will be weeded and well mucked prior to winter planting. Apologies, but I hope you have enjoyed the extra tunnel produce.

Meanwhile the punnets are counted and ready so we will just wait for the fruit to ripen. Jane


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