Saturday 30 April 2016

Deep freeze

blueberry flowers

It's a strange time when I spend more time looking at the Météo than I do playing Bejewelled. But so it has been for the last couple of weeks as the temperatures have stayed resolutely 5 or 6 degrees below average day and night. Unpleasant enough for day temperatures to barely reach double figures, disastrous for spring planting when there's a frost nearly every night.

I've been glued to the forecast desperately hoping for good news to appear on the screen but unusually the long term view has been quite consistent and accurate, horrible cold until May. Tonight is, I hope, the last night I'll need to fleece within the polytunnel and greenhouse to avoid losing everything to frost.

play list

This is the rough planting list of plants I'm expecting to grow this year. Today I finally sowed the indoor melons and cucumbers, tomorrow the rest of the cucurbits - pumpkins and ridge cucumbers. The beans have been waiting for today although I did start the soya and Hutterite soup beans a week ago and they're just unfolding upwards now.  The tomato seedlings have been in stasis since germinating at the beginning of the month but I'm hoping that the improved warmth will give them a rapid boost. The okra was started far too early and is only just hanging on in there but while there's life there's hope.

There are more things to plant than are on the list, as usual I've given myself far more to do than I can possibly achieve successfully along with 4-500 oca plants that will need planting, tending and recording throughout the summer.


Today the sun was out and although it's another cold night it was possible to work outside and take a few cheerful pictures at last. The marigolds have been out for a month, plucky things, but I particularly like this dark centred one that overwintered in the shelter of the myrtle.

Before the cold snap came we did see quite a lot of butterflies on sunnier days, Brimstone, Peacock, Speckled Wood and I think I spotted a single spring Map butterfly. There was also at least one male Orange Tip. It's harder to spot the female, she lacks the bright wing tips but I think I caught her on camera today on the Lady's smock (Cardamine pratensis) which is just coming into bloom.

female orange tip

Not a great picture but I was pleased to get it. And to finish, my favourite rough comfrey shot, just love these curly flower heads.

rough comfrey

Sunday 10 April 2016


23 spot

I was about to stop blogging, had a whole rant in my head. Decided to come here and just make sowing notes and when I got here, there were a couple of supportive comments that had slipped into the spam bucket and were nearly missed.

Thanks kind people.

Still don't have much to blog about so here is that list.

Planted today, four sorts of peas. Salmon flowered, Irish preans, Magnum Bonum and Raisin Capujiners which I liked a lot when I grew them a couple of years ago but failed to take a harvest from. HSL have come through with another batch so I'll try again, harder this time.

We had a big push a couple of weeks ago and ground is cleared for spuds so the first row of earlies, Premiere this year, are in. To follow mostly our favourites; Ambo, Sarpo Mira, Pink Fir Apple, some Highland Burgundy Red as my nod to novelty for this year (although we've grown them many times before) and Mr. C snuck in some Golden Wonder. I've no idea why but if it keeps him happy.

Onion sets mostly settled. Really too late for garlic but I'm going to set a row of cloves from the chunky bulbs I bought on the market last autumn which are still hard and healthy looking and hope for the best.

My pomegranate seeds came up. They're looking good.

In the new hoop house there are currently 400+ pots of oca but as soon as they're out and into the ground I shall have okra and melons in there. The okra is up already, lovely strong plants.

And I've made start on planning the rest of the vegetables. It always stuns me how a little vegetable garden can contain so many different plants and varieties of plants, no wonder it sometimes seems unmanageable but it's all good stuff and offers the promise of summer to my jaded senses.