At last it seems that Spring is here but after being on holiday from November into December, all that rain and contracting a virus that laid me low for the best part of February and March, the garden is a mess. However the recent spell of decent weather has meant the ground is now slowly drying out and I did dig over one of my vegetable plots the other day, incorporating some compost. The ground is workable if still a bit heavy.
Before I started digging I pulled up the last of the beetroot and made Beetroot and Tomato soup. The tomato puree had been frozen last year. The resultant soup was not only delicious but a beautiful vivid red in colour. I will certainly ensure I have a good long row of beetroot this year.
A lot of work needs to be done over the next few weeks to get the garden into shape.
I hope to complete my digging this week and put down cloches to warm up the soil before sowing.
Garlic , Onions and Shallots
In my blog last year I mentioned that I had sown “Autumn sown” varieties see www.gardenwithian.wordpress.com/autumn-blues . I planted rows of 14 of each and whilst the garlic is looking good with all showing good growth I have lost 4 onions and as far as the shallots are concerned, a disaster, I only have 4 left !!! I have never had such a lack of success before and put it down to the excessively wet spell.
I also sowed a couple of rows but between rotting and the attention of slugs I have been forced to sow them again and hope for the best.
My seed potatoes are in a window to encourage them to sprout, or “chit” as it is called these days. This should ensure quicker growth after planting.
My small greenhouse is still in use as a supplementary log store and will be until well into May.
My other greenhouse will have to be thoroughly washed with Jeyes Fluid before I reinstall the staging and set up my electric propagators. As I do not have any heating in my greenhouses there is no urgency in starting sowing. Despite my natural impatience to get started I know from past, sometimes bitter, experience that the last week in March is time enough to start.
The garden is exposed to the cold North/East winds so early planting out is not recommended, I usually wait until the last week of May. Even then I have lost many tender plants in the past to the winds.
There is much pruning to be done as over the past year growth seems to have been greater than in previous years and shrubs are now getting too large for their situation.
I have an area at the bottom of the garden which I have left to nature. Having looked at it earlier this week I realise that it is time for some human intervention to prevent the area from being completely overgrown. Holly seems to have developed a liking for this patch of ground so some thinning out is required. When I do start on this I will be careful not to disturb any nesting birds.
I have two prunus trees and one has died and will have to be removed. The other appears to be in a distressed state also so the same fate may be in store for it. Both trees are quite old so it may just be that old age has overtaken them.
Before I went on holiday at the beginning of November I dug up Cardiocrinum Giganteum bulbs from their nursery bed with a view to planting in their permanent positions about now. The problem is I cannot find them and have no recollection of what I did with them. I hope they turn up soon.
I spent my holiday in South Africa, a beautiful and friendly Country, and explored the Garden Route. I finish off my first blog of the year with some pictures of flowers I saw there.