It’s all go at the moment on the allotment and at home; since I finished work for Easter planting has begun in earnest. Prior to that, the only planting had been 5 rows of potatoes on Mother’s Day.
Last Friday, the children and I got ourselves set up with a planting production line. For a change, we decided to use peat pots and egg cartons as our planting vessels, partly due to the same demise of the plastic inners of the propagators and partly as an experiment in recycling. We also had 65 gazillion (perhaps and slight exaggeration) egg boxes on top of the kitchen cupboards so we had nothing to lose by using them. We had picked up the peat pots at the end of the season last year for about 15p a pack. We did use some plastic cups so we could watch some beans grow through the sides like we did last year, and the children have been fascinated by the progress made in only 4 days. (Two beans have roots already, we are hoping the others start soon.)
We planted tomatoes, runner beans, courgettes and pumpkin seeds. They’ve all been sat on the conservatory window sills with propagator lids on, and so far germination is going well. It’s really warm in there, and most of the courgettes and pumpkins have sprouted already!
On Sunday, I planted pepper and aubergine seeds too, but obviously they’ve not done anything yet. Today at the allotment we planted more potatoes in gigantic pots which Mr C’s dad gave us, which is another experiment as we’ve only added compost. It’s worth a go after last year’s disaster with potatoes, though we have some sown directly into the ground too.
When Mr C went to check on the plot on Sunday, he saw a chap we know and manged to swap some plant pots for 4 rhubarb crowns. Then today we swapped some cabbage seedlings that were in our compost (long story!) for a packet of red onion sets. There’s nothing like a good trade!
We spent some time today hoeing up weeds, particularly the dandelions which we want to behead before they go to seed. The weeds are a depressing sight already, but we have a 5 year old who is getting pretty good at using the hoe (and a lot of the other tools). He is also trying to earn rewards so he’s particularly keen at the moment! Whilst he did that, we rotavated some compost into the raised beds ready for carrots and parsnips to be sown. The third raised bed is awaiting another trailer load of compost. I had a go at using the rotavator, it reminded me of taking a particularly strong and stubborn dog for a walk. Not something I’m keen to repeat, but it’s good to know I could.
The fruit trees and bushes are blossoming too. Not all of them, but we’ve got a good start. The redcurrant is looking particularly heavy with flowers.
The next things on the list are digging holes for posts and putting wire between them for the thornless blackberries which we bought, adding more compost to the third raised bed, and continuing to nurture the seedlings at home. We have some metal troughs for the strawberries which need holes drilling in and then we can fill them with compost (I’m considering those a matter of urgency!)
Planting so far:
30 new potatoes 26/3
18 later potatoes 11/4
Approximately 25 runner beans 7/4
Tomatoes (2 varieties) 7/4
Sweet pepper 9/4
We have a trip to the allotment planned on Friday, when I may sow into some of the raised beds, depending on the weather and the children. We are having an Easter egg hunt, barbecue and seed swap there in the afternoon. (I suggested the seed swap to the person organising it after I looked at my seed tin!)
I’m a little paranoid that the current warm weather is lulling us into a false sense of security, so I’m remaining a little wary whilst making the most of it!
How’s your growing going? Are you trying anything new this year?