Sunday, April 20, 2008

Out in the sun

It's a lovely morning, the sun is shining and a gentle breeze is blowing. A perfect day to enjoy working in the garden.
But first....................................

Breakfast !!

What better way to start the day than with 2 fresh soft boiled eggs, lightly buttered toast, a cup of Rington's Connoiseur tea and The Herald Cryptic Crossword.
After that I'm ready for anything. And so to work.................

Tomato plants hardening off.

It was such a nice morning that I thought the "kids" would enjoy a little time in the sun too so I carried them out and set them down in a sheltered spot away from the wind. I checked the soil temperature in all 6 plots and it was between 68 and 70 degrees.

Yolo Wonder Bell Peppers awaiting planting out.

Plot 3
Here I planted 4 Yolo pepper plants. These are a new variety to me, a rounder shape than I've grown in the past and look excellent for stuffing as well as freshly chopped in salads.
If I can keep the dreaded Blister Beetles off them, that is.
I also reset some Romaine Lettuce seed along with Amsterdam Minicor Carrots and more Cherry Belle Radish.

Potato Plants

Plot 5
I removed the floating row covers and let the sun dry the soil out a little as everything is still pretty damp. Later on in the afternoon I mulched the rear row with a thick layer of clean straw. The front row will be "hilled" in the traditional way when the plants get a little taller.

Prepared Tomato Plot

Plot 6
I turned over the whole plot then added a good measure of my homemade compost. Then I turned it over again. I also let this plot stand uncovered for the rest of the afternoon, replacing the covers around 5-00pm.

Big Worm.

Now this looks good. I saw plenty of worm activity whilst turning the plot, some were huge as shown in the picture above. But size is not what matters. If you have plenty of worms, large or small, it's a good sign that your soil is doing well. Worms dont like poor soil.

After all this I repotted the Strawberry plants into 2 hanging baskets and hung them in front of the garage. This site gets plenty of sun for most of the day and should be ideal.
Next I dug over one of the flower beds, added compost and planted out a Pink Creeping Phlox. Then I labeled all the tomato plants that I'll be despatching to people at work and made a list of who's getting what. I had a count up and I've got the following:
9 Old Virginia
14 Giant Beefsteak
8 Big Red (from my own seed stock)
My next door neighbour was out in her garden so I called her over and let her have first pick.
She chose an Old virginia and a Giant Beefsteak.

I dragged the barbeque out of the garage and gave it a good clean then proceeded to dirty it again by cooking some of my wife's delicious home made "Cheesy Dribbler" Beef Burgers accompanied by a couple of well earned cold beers.

Cloudy moonlight.

Yawn, and so to bed.


Saturday April 19th

To get a successful crop of vegetables from my small plots I have to make many considerations. Location, soil quality and temperature, companion plants, how to deal with the usual onslaught of pests etc.

But elsewhere in the garden, away from the well nurtured soil, it's a different world. Here plants and trees who want to survive have to tough it out and face the horrific onslaught that winter throws at them. OK, some things didn't make it this year.....

We lost the Flowering Dogwood, snapped in half......

.......and a Redbud tree.

But here are some who refused to lie down and die despite having the odds stacked against them........

Our Fuji Apple tree after the ice storm hit........... now almost fully recovered.

The Willow, squashed flat by the sheer weight of the ice..... slowly coming back to shape but will need assistance by staking and pruning.

The young Peach was crushed by this huge falling limb and lost a number of branches.......

.....but seems to be recovering well after a little TLC and a touch of "Tree Seal".

Chrysanthemums encased in ice........

.....are back for another go this year.

The herb garden was out all winter and froze solid at one time.
But, the Curly Parsley and Oregano are making a comeback........ is the Beacon Silver Lamium.

Nothing seems to deter the Creeping Phlox from sharing their spring colour.

Mother nature is a wonderful thing.