Well as expected, two very busy months out there. But it is all looking very good, and despite a few fails (peas, mangetout, rows of lovely salad seedlings trashed by ??something…) I’m pleased with how its going so far.
I spent a lot of time one day carefully dismantling what was left of my original hen run (now aka the ‘pile of crap’ on my orchard. Not to be confused with the pile of actual crap from the farm). This freed up quite a bit of usable chicken wire, which I was able to give away via Freegle. It also tidied up an eyesore of my own making, and enabled me finally to cut all the grass on the orchard and start to get it looking more like it should. This is a space that one day will be a new salad bed (next year….). The old raspberry bed is going to become a cutting flower bed. This will require An Awful Lot Of Work. Maybe over the autumn and winter?
At the very end of April I planted a new asparagus bed. So far it’s not looking like much, but I remain optimistic that next year it will start to look like its meant to. I hope I’m not being completely deluded – I so want it to work out this time around.
By contrast, the raspberry canes and fruit bushes I moved this spring are looking brilliant, and the extended strawberry bed is smothered with flowers and the start of fruit. I’ve covered them with netting to try to reduce the amount of bird damage, and will need to be vigilant about slugs and snails. I’ve even planted a rose bush next to them to grow up a post that was a no-longer-needed of an early attempt at a fruit cage.
There are gooseberries on the bushes, and the beginnings of flowers on the currant bushes. The rhubarb is producing more than I can use, and I’ve started cooking up the surplus for the freezer. Later this week there will be a batch of rhubarb and ginger jam I hope.
The mini orchard looked a picture a couple of weeks ago when the blossom was out. On the nearby community orchard we celebrated the fabulous blossom with a community picnic, complete with a local community choir. A lovely event, and one I hope may become a tradition.
Back on my vegetable plot, I have three beds of potatoes all doing well, and I’m hopeful that as usual we’ll have the first of the first earlier at the start of July for Malcolm’s birthday.
The broad beans I sowed in the autumn are doing well, and we should have our first picking shortly. By contrast all my peas have been devastated – birds? snails? slugs? a sustained onslaught by a combination of all three? All I know is that we don’t have any. Maybe I can remedy that later in the season.
By contrast all the onions, garlic and shallots are doing fabulously well, and I hope we may have our best crop ever. In particular the garlic look like they’re going to be full sized and not mini like the ones I’ve grown for the past few years. Planting early into good rich soil (enriched with plenty of muck from a nearby farm) is probably the key to this, plus no shortage of rain along the way.
I planted out cucumbers, tomatoes and courgettes a couple of weeks ago, and so far they’re all still there (thanks in large part I suspect to the slug pellets, my only deviation from organic growing).
I have one more project on the go: up-cycling stuff I’ve scavenged . Hence the three ex Bongo wheels donated by youngest son, in which I’m growing a cucumber plant, a courgette plant, and a chard plant. I’m hoping to demonstrate to oldest son (who doesn’t have a garden but could possibly use some outside space for growing) and youngest son (who does have a garden but a very small one with very limited growing space) just how much you can grow in free containers. Or maybe all I’ll show them is just how little you can grow. Time will tell.
Next up: the bean poles and some climbing french bean plants. Some new sowings of salad stuffs. Planting out the rest of the flower seedlings I managed to raise (marigolds, zinnias). Giving away any left over plants (tomatoes, cucumbers, chard, all have good homes to go to).
Anyway, all in all, this year is looking better than last year, which was better than the one before. And that’s good enough for me.