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.

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May Eating…

Quite a few crops were ready in the garden this last month.

The Pak Choi ‘Joi Choi’ sown back in March has a few nibble holes but is still great.

Sadly the Pak ChoiMei Qing Choi’ went to seed very quickly.  One minute it was about ready, then the flowers appeared before I had chance to pick and eat it.  I have checked the second sewing and it appears that the same thing is happening there, the ‘Joi Choi’ is fine but the ‘Mei Qing Choi’ is flowering.  I’m not sure why as I’ve kept it well watered but maybe the very dry hot weather we had in May was a bit much.  I recently put a third sowing in the greenhouse ready to replace those eaten this month.

I have also rather lazily let the Rhubarb go to seed.  I should have cut the flower heads off as they formed (I did the first few) to keep the plants producing nice new stems but we got a bit rhubarbed out, I am finding the flowers quite pretty though so I’m happy to let them be to admire when passing.

The Chard which has been in place since last year is also ready.  It was still a small plant this Spring but after a good feed it’s sprouted into life and is adding to the abundant greens we get to eat at the moment.

Finally, the Broad Bean Super Aquadulce’ hasn’t completely failed after I moved it outside in Winter just in time for the snow.  As I blogged earlier, it nearly all died but a few shoots lived on to produce a handful of beans, and they do taste good!

We should really be eating lettuce and spinach but sadly these crops either didn’t grow well, or have gone to seed before really taking off.  Again, despite my watering they were just too dry and a bit stressed with our super hot May, I have planted some more salad seeds indoors to pop out when they have sprouted, I find it very difficult to germinate the seed  in the beds.  I will make sure it’s in a North facing area and kept moist but it may already be too far into warm weather for any results.

March Vegetable Planting…

It’s been busy around here, as well as getting the Squash/Pumpkin on the way (see last post) I have been a busy bee making the most of the warm (ish) weather and have started off all the March seeds.  So, this month I have sown:

In the greenhouse (under cloches)

Climbing French Bean – ‘Barlotto Lingua di Fuoco’ x 10

Climbing French Bean – ‘Blue Lake Climbing‘ x 5

Pak Choi – ‘Mei Qing Choi’ x 5

Pak Choi‘Joi Choi’ x 5

In the house

Courgette‘Soleil’ x 2

Courgette‘Defender’ x 2

(and the Squash – again, see the last post)

Direct in the garden

Spring Onion‘North Holland Blood Red’ x 2 Rows

Radish – ‘Cherry Bell’ & ‘Sparkler’ (I mixed the seeds in the packet) x 2 Rows

Lettuce‘Red Sails’ x 1 Row

All the above are the usual tried and tested, and all are planted with at least 2 seeds per pot so the weakest seedling can be removed.  I have learnt to only grow small amounts of most things, enough for us to eat but not get totally bored and so quite often seed carries over from one year to the next.  The only new items on the list are the Climbing Beans, I quite fancied ‘Barlotto’ as the beans are so pretty and they are good for drying and the ‘Blue Lake’ have been sitting around for a while so they need using.

I decided to plant out the 2 gutters of Beetroot started in the Greenhouse in early February (I should mention, I went to do this only to realise I hadn’t allocated space in the veg beds – duh! – so have planted them in flower Bed 1 between the Spring bulbs where there was still some space).  They have mostly germinated and are still at the seed leaf stage but I need the space and they need better light.  I have ordered some slug nematodes the first of which arrive in April (I think) so it’s a little risky to be putting out such small seedlings now, they may well get munched.  On which note (sob!) the blooming things have eaten my Kale, the ones that had survived a whole winter only to get eaten when planted out into it’s nice new raised bed, grrrrr, I still have one growing but it’s pretty small and I will simply plant up new seed next month.  Correction, I have none left as on going out to photograph the second, that has also been eaten 😦

The last thing to mention is the Rhubarb, which is going crazy!  It’s only on the third year, it cropped well last year although I left a lot of the stalks in place, as you are supposed to do in year two, but they obviously (both the ‘Champagne’ and ‘Timberly Early’) must like their little spot as they are definitely thriving.

Quick update, I wrote this post earlier this week and today the slug nematodes arrived.  I have the repeat (3, I think) batch order so they will arrive at intervals and hopefully keep the slugs under control without having to resort to other means.  It’s great timing at we are set for warm (above 5 degrees at night, only just mind!) temperatures and rain which is the ideal conditions for the nematodes to more around in the soil.  I wont chat too much about them as the link above tells you everything you need to know, but they are worth buying if you suffer from slugs.