April Flowers and more Planting Lists…

I have been a bit useless at making time to photograph the Spring flowers this year, the orange ‘Ballerina’ tulips and ‘China Pinks’ in the borders are getting past their best and are about o be replaced by the Alliums.  I also haven’t been bringing many flowers into the house, to be honest, nearly two weeks into half term it’s all a bit of a mess around here so decorating with flowers hasn’t been high on my list.

I did take the time yesterday to cut some lilac from our overgrown boundary (one of the many lovely trees we inherited from the previous owner) and I mixed it with some dark purple parrot tulips from the cutting patch, shamefully I realised when writing this post that I have no idea what the variety is called, oh well, they look very pretty together.

I do like a nice dark tulip, I also grow ‘Jan Reus’ in my boarders and a line of the same in the cutting patch.  I plan to move all my cutting patch bulbs into one border after they have flowered this year (and have been given time to recover), although it was a good plan in theory to plant them deep between rows where I intended to put vegetables,  I find the leaves get in the way as they cause a shadow over any seedlings I’m trying to grow.

We (me and the boys) have also planted up a few new things.  I’ve put horseradish roots into one of the large containers I normally plant squash in, I figure it’ll be easier to find when it comes time to dig it up for eating.  We’ve also put in some carrots, again in a large container and one that I’d put ‘Sytan’ seeds in last September that did diddly-squat.  On a closer inspection (I was planting ‘Early Nantes’ seeds) I noticed some of those September sown seeds are finally germinating which I wasn’t expecting so we just threw a few extra in for luck.  Growing in the tall containers saves me worrying about carrot root fly as they can’t fly above 60 cm, at least that’s the theory and it worked well last year.

That’s all for now, I need to get all my final plants sown over the coming week so I’m hoping for a little cooler weather as it’s quite difficult in this heat, I’m more inclined to want to sit around drinking Pimms 🙂

Advertisements

April vegetable planting lists…

We’ve had a glorious start to the Easter Holidays and have spent most of the time so far in the garden.  The timing couldn’t have been better as F started with Chicken Pox last Thursday and being able to send him outside to play (when he has been well enough) has taken the strain out of housebound kids.

As C was in full health, I went to his end of term concert on the Friday and we took a bunch of Narcissi from the cutting patch along with a chocolate Lindt bunny for his Key Worker.  These Narcissi are among the first flowers to appear in the garden and as well as a line grown for cut flowers I have many scattered across the garden, both under the trees and in the beds; they are the ‘Geranium’ variety and I love them, they also smell fantastic!  I spent quite a lot of money on bulbs when we first moved here and I’m pleased I did, the tulips are opening at the moment to provide some colour and they will then be replaced with the Alliums.  Although I haven’t added any extra bulbs for a couple of years, I plan to put more in next September now I know exactly where the gaps in my planting are.

The greenhouse is starting to look busy and in addition to the already planted and germinating Tomatoes, Aubergines, Peppers and Chillies (which were moved out of the house once the nights warmed up) I have added:

Cucumbers ‘Burpless Tasty Green’ & ‘Diva’

3 of each in larger pots, although the Diva are showing no signs of germinating at the moment

Sweetcorn ‘Sweet Nugget’

16 altogether, again in decent sized pots so the roots wont be disturbed when transplanting them.  I’ve bravely only planted 1 kernel per pot, I’ll plant more if they don’t germinate as ideally I need a grid of at least 4 x 4 for the wind pollination that they need to ame sure we get cobs full of kernels.

Melons ‘Edonis

These were so good last year, I’ve planted 3 pots for hopefully 2 melons per plant.

Courgettes ‘Soliel’ & ‘Defender’

2 pots of each (2 seeds per pot so one can be thrown away of they both germinate)

Pak Choi ‘Joi Choi

1 pot with a few seeds for transplanting out later.

I have quite a few herbs to plant up but for now I’ve started with Lemon Grass I’ll get around the rest later…maybe.  I’ve also planted a gutter with Peas ‘Sugar Snap’ in a grid of three lines planted 5 cm apart in rows 5 cm apart.  These will go out as soon as they get going but after the mice are tempted to remove them!

Finally, I’ve planted up a large seed tray of mixed lettuce, Mizuna, Mustard and Rocket, these will be moved outside as seedlings in a few weeks and in order to stop them being munched immediately I’ve ordered the first batch of slug nematodes.  I’d rather get rid of the little critters before they even get going and then repeat every few weeks until we are out of this mild wet weather.

Things I’ve forgotten to menion OR I’m a bad blogger…

Take your pick as both apply.  I have been working in the garden so I’m not quite sure why my blogging hasn’t kicked back in, it’s always slow at the start of the year and over Winter, when everything goes into hibernation but by now I’m usually back into the swing of regular posting.  I suspect it’s partly that I know (after growing here for 4 years now) kind of what I’m doing so I spend less time reading up on-line and in gardening books and therefore less time learning new processes and recording them, not that I know everything, far from it and the good thing is it means this blog is working well as a record as I simply check on what I was up to last year and follow the same.

This is the ‘trolley’ in our kitchen, you can imagine how popular I am, especially as this mess tends to be there for most of Spring as I try to get all my seeds organised and planted out, I’m generally a bit behind but happy with that, I’d rather plant direct this year, when possible.

And so, here are a few things I’ve missed putting down on virtual paper, for the record.

Things that survived the Winter

Spinach ‘Bordeaux’

Planted back in September’s Autumn Planting post, is was the only thing that did take, everything else failed to germinate or died soon after due to a general lack of proper care, tut, tut!

Herbs ‘Thyme’, ‘Parcel’, ‘Winter Savory’ and ‘Mint’.

Although they look a bit scrappy in their pots, they are hanging on in there.

Carrots ‘ Nantes’

Now, these have rather taken me surprise, there were some left in one of the huge containers I planted them in (to avoid carrot fly – which worked like a treat) and although they lost all their top foliage in the snowy Winter we had, the carrots underneath are perfectly fine.  I know because Charlie digs them up to eat each time we are in the veg patch, the container is a great height for him to ‘play’ in.

Kale ‘Cavalo Nero’

Again, a crop from last Summer which I simply never got around to pulling up and composting when it got past it’s best.  I’m glad I didn’t as it has sprung back to life and all 5 plants are producing nice new leaves from the top, in fact some are sprouting so well from the bottom, I think I might trim them down and see if they can keep going..

Parsnips ‘Gladiator’

I couldn’t dig these due to frosty ground and only a few had germinated so they are still there and I forgot about them, they are now comedy giant parsnips.

Things I’ve planted that I forgot to tell you about

The new batch of shallot French ‘Longor’ were put into their beds a few weeks ago.  As per the instructions from 2009, the sets have been planted  in rows about 30cm apart, with 7 sets per row (my beds are 120cm wide) and the tops just poking out.  They are looking nicely settled although I’ve had to net them to make sure the cat doesn’t see a litter tray opportunity.  These are so worth it as we haven’t bought shallots since the first year I grew them and they need so little care, although we do normally have onions in the veg patch as an additional supplement.

I sowed some Broad Bean Super Aquadulce’ a few weeks back indoors and these have now been planted out.  I didn’t bother to do an Autumn planting as quite frankly in past years the final plants have always ended up a bit scrappy, it’ll be interesting to see how this early Spring sown version differs.

In a completely separate note, the Spring flowers are finally coming into their own, it always amazes me how quickly they go from green shoots to full blown blooms so (fingers crossed) there will be some pretty pictures to go with the next post and finally a bit of colour in the garden, for now here is the Fritillaria imperialis which is flowering for the first time for a while, I’ve been getting blind bulbs so I’m very happy to finally see some blooms 🙂