Tuesday, 4 May 2010
I don't think I've ever been as cold here in May as I am this year. Normally by now, we've been in full residence for a few weeks and spring is abundantly apparent. This year, although we're late arriving the weather seems far more appropriate for early April than the first week of May.
Late as the season is, I am later still with getting started and this week is going to be a frenzy of seed sowing and planting in the hope of catching up for summer cropping. Planted today, pointed red cabbage Kalibos from Suttons and Asturian Tree Cabbage (via Realseeds), Whangapararoa Crown pumpkins, a selection of white courgette that I'm working on and Butternut squashes in the heated propagator along with some of the Black Crowder cowpeas. I've also started some Statice for dried flowers and the Mirabilis I bought in Sweden.
A few days ago I put peas and soya beans into modules and left them outside, along came the rain and washed them out again. I've bundled the seeds back into the trays but the varieties are now mixed up. Hoping to differentiate them at planting out time. In the same flooding I also lost a pot of ramson seeds and my last few tuberous rooted pea seeds. I've sieved the sludge and chucked it all in a pot together - maybe something will come up.
At least we've managed to get the spuds in, they were all in place by the 1st of the month - the latest we've ever put them out but not a hopeless timing. The first earlies are going to be a long wait though, probably starting a month later than we've come to expect.
I also stuck shallots in yesterday, ridiculously late but better than leaving them to rot in their plaits. The alliums already in place, planted either last autumn or in March are doing o.k. thank goodness.
Ground is prepared too for the oca and ulluco, I have seedlings of asparagus Martha Washington waiting for their spot and the tender plants are still safely under glass in the UK waiting for a ferry trip over this weekend.
The harsh winter doesn't seem to have caused much problem for local wildlife - unless untimely deaths in the hunting bird population are responsible for a plague of mice. We can't understand it but this year there are far more rodents than we've ever seen. The cats are in a frenzy and for the last five days we have been collecting at least 10 corpses a day from around the house that they have brought in, finding bodies all over the yard and having the dubious pleasure of listening to cats crunching on mice heads in the dark of the night.
I would feel sorrier for the little creatures but they invaded my cooker while we were away, made a nest and soiled the insulation for the oven so completely that even after cleaning, renewing part and heat sterilising the rest I'm not sure we won't have to replace the whole thing. It's absolutely disgusting and depressing.