Where on earth has April gone? The apple orchard is in full bloom, swallows are swooping round the buildings, the cuckoo is shouting from the wood and suddenly I realise I haven’t posted at all this month. So much to catch up on that I’m going for the double, so here’s Part 1. . .
First of all, to the tunnel. It’s incredible to think that this time last year I was begging the plants to grow, especially those poor miserable little tomatoes which just refused to budge beyond their first true leaves. This year couldn’t be more different, thank goodness! I’ve planted six toms in the tunnel – two each of ‘Marmande’, ‘Moneymaker’ and ‘Bambino’ – with a pair of ‘Dattelwein’ still to go in once we’ve finished eating the land cress.
The rest, including ‘Roma’, ‘Tamina’, ‘Red Alert’ and an organic beefsteak are destined for a new bed in the flower garden where I’m hoping for a bumper blight-free crop (fingers crossed).
Aubergines were one of the biggest successes of last year so along with ‘Black Beauty’ I’ve planted ‘Moneymaker’, ‘Long Slim Purple’ and ‘Bonica’. Also in are two sweet pepper varieties ‘Long Red Marconi’ and ‘Nardello’, and a forest of various chilli types. The ‘Habenero Orange’ isn’t looking too great but everything else is going well. Finally, two ‘Hunter’ butternut squashes which can scramble to their heart’s content – I’m NOT planting indoor cucumbers after last year’s fiasco so the squash should be safe from invasion.
It’s been warm work in the tunnel but I’ve had company, I’m certainly encouraging this bunch – come on in and munch the slugs (but please ignore the weeds)!
Isn’t compost one of the greatest miracles of life (and death, I suppose)? We spend months piling up veg peelings, teabags, coffee grounds, garden waste, paper, straw, etc, etc, turn it, cover it and forget about it . . . to be left with a wonderful crumbly pile of gorgeousness to feed the garden with. I’ve been using last year’s Heap 1 in the tunnel and outside, digging carefully around the grass snakes as I go. I’m too lazy to sieve it, there are a fair few crushed eggshells in there but they help deter the slugs so on they go.
I transplanted the ‘Greyhound’summer cabbage at the beginning of the month, needless to say the pesky pigeons are carrying out smash and grab raids when my back’s turned but so far the plants are holding up.
The ‘Ailsa Craig’ and ‘Grenada’ onions grown from seed also went in, to join the ‘Stuttgater Giant’ sets which are zooming up.
We planted two varieties of potato in the first week of April – ‘Pentland Javelin’ as first earlies and ‘Nicola’ to follow on. We’ve earthed them up several times against frost but there’s no stopping them now.
No stopping the broad beans either: they’re full of bumble bees and starting to set their first pods. No sign of blackfly (yet) but there are a number of ants hanging around looking suspiciously hopeful which is never a good sign. In my ever-optimistic (or is it lackadaisical?) way I shall just enjoy their sweet perfume for now and worry about the aphids later . . . 🙂