What we’ve been up to…

The sun has finally come out for Spring. Thank God.

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It’s been 25° over the weekend and things have been picking up.

The huge and ancient cherry tree in the garden has finally blossomed, as have the plums – the last things to blossom will be the pears and the quince. The weather has been perfect for the blossom, being so wet and then warm. Let’s hope the last frosts are gone, though I suspect not. This year has been more than strange. The best thing has been the “second best” cherry, which is the same variety as the big one above, but has never produced the same amount of fruit. This year, it is covered in blossom. It obviously needed a really, really good soak.

The apple is almost ready to blossom.

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Yesterday was a day of preparing beds and getting the pruning done. There are so many root vegetables that I am quite desperate to get outside. The next few days will see some heavy-duty sowing going on. Things going in will include turnips (of which I seem to have about twenty packets…) carrots (likewise, though most are donations) radish, lettuce, onions and beetroot. As you know, the beetroot is my one love. Carrots are fine. Turnips are great. But beetroot is my love. Pickled, roasted, chutneyfied… it’s my favourite. The sweeter, the richer, the better.

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This bed still looks really, really bad, but it is getting there. We worked on it most of today. The soil is in great condition. I found myself giving mini classes (yes, lectures) on soil and compacting. I do think that a spade or fork should go into soil and if it is good for digging, it should come out like a skewer in a cake that is perfectly cooked. It shouldn’t be sticky and if it is exactly perfect, there will be no remnant of it left on the metal. It was a little damp still this morning, but is probably a day away from perfect. This is the longest bed and it had nothing in it last year, so it is well rested and very weedy.

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On the sills, the courgettes and cucumbers have poked their heads out and there are a lot of things waiting for every last sign of frost to have disappeared. The tomatoes still seem very small in these pots, but they are Gardeners Delight cherry tomatoes, which don’t get so big as usual tomato plants.

So, what is up and what is in?

  • Gardener’s Delight tomatoes
  • Super Marmande tomatoes
  • Alicante tomatoes
  • Super Roma tomatoes
  • cauliflower ‘merveille de quatre saisons’
  • musselburgh leeks
  • Autumn Giant leeks
  • kale
  • sweet banana pepper
  • Rachel’s cauliflower seeds that I can’t remember the name of
  • cheap aubergines
  • expensive aubergines
  • savoy cabbage
  • oak-leaf lettuce
  • red lettuce
  • brussels sprouts
  • basil
  • red cabbage
  • Webbs lettuce
  • tabasco pepper
  • poppies
  • broccoli
  • cucumber
  • more lettuce
  • pumpkins
  • courgettes
  • Reine Marguerite
  • sunflowers

That’s a pretty long list of stuff, though it doesn’t feel like there’s much waiting to go out really. I guess there is. That is going to be one hell of a plant-out operation. I can tell there is actually a lot of stuff because I have no tags left (and have resorted to using kind of flamboyant cocktail umbrellas instead) and there are no plant pots free. The impatiens in the propagator are just putting out leaves, as are the peppers I put in a couple of weeks ago. There might be a couple more things to run through the propagator, but it is generally warm enough now that everything else can go out in the soil. I’m just too excited for my own good, and it’s obviously something I get off my mother.

The people at my Mum’s allotment have realised what a force of nature she is. She had already put her potatoes and onions in, which alarmed me because I hadn’t and we’re drier and warmer than Manchester. She says she thinks she attracted a crowd of naysayers, saying ‘ooh, it’s too early yet’. They’ll see.

This is why I’m competitive.

I should have the advantage, weather and position-wise.

I won’t.

She’ll get way more than me out of a way smaller plot.

I felt like I needed to go and get some more soil and to be able to get more stuff in, but then I realised I had no more plant pots. That’s something, isn’t it? I never ran out of plant pots before.

So today, we will continue with the veg plot – the big, hairy, ugly one that is full of weeds. It looked as bad when I moved in though, so I am not worried. It will return to its former self.

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4 thoughts on “What we’ve been up to…

  1. Good luck. I went down to our potager yesterday, but it’s still just an exercise in frustration. I wanted to move some soil, but it was like trying to move potters clay. My pears, plums and 2 of my sweet cherries are now flowering, but it will be a while before the sour cherries and the apples get there.

  2. I use sturdy drinking cups, either made of sturdy paper or plastic and my seeds do fine in them. I have regular small pots I could use, but these seem to work great, so that is what I use.

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