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Is It April Already (Time for a Video Then)

With Spring seeming to be flying by and daily visits to my plots since my post of  22nd March, I thought it was about time to start another blog post before I forget how. Busy is an understatement since the middle of last month and my plots are still not fully prepared for sowing and planting yet. The weather here has been reasonable lately with plenty of fine sunny days, ideal for gardening. Most of the other allotment blogs I have read lately are brimming with the normal Spring planting and sowing details, putting me to shame with their pictures of germinating seeds, well prepared vegetable and flower beds and other allotment projects in various stages of progress. This season and due to the wet Winter I decided to make sure that both my plots had their ground re-cultivated before any other tasks, including sowing and planting took place. So far I have completed the cultivation and feeding of most of N1 Plot and with only 2 half beds on N2 Plot to complete, I should be back on track by the end of this week, although there will be some delay in "turning over" parts of two of the lower reaches of the beds on N2 Plot, which are, at the moment, still too wet to work on.

Broad beans & Peas N2 Plot
Number 1 Bed N2 Plot Broad beans & Peas (14/April/14)
 In fact as seed sowing goes I actually have had time to sow various seeds, mainly into pots and trays, during those rainy spells of weather when outdoor working was out of the question. To date I have 50 Runner bean plants (Enorma & Scarlet emperor), 20 Tomato plants (Gardeners delight), 34 Sweetcorn plants (Lark), several Squashes and Cucumbers growing well so far. Outside the Broad beans (Aquadulche), are growing well with 6 rows of Peas (Hurst greenshaft), coming along nicely, apart from 1 row which is looking a bit sparse at the moment. 2 rows of Carrots + 1 row of Beetroot (Golden globe) have yet to germinate. I expect the Beetroot will take a while to do so as they were only sown earlier this afternoon before I left the plot.

Since the beginning of this week I have been lifting and turning the clay soil on number 2 bed of Plot 2, breaking the clay down and forking in horse manure which was spread over the bed during last Autumn. The bed has been extended by about a meter and a half at the top (northern) end by digging out the turf from part of the parking area which was a tad too large. To date 50% of this bed is fully cultivated but today I reached the area lower down the sloping bed, towards the south which is still wet from Winter flooding, so tomorrow I will find out if it has dried out enough to cultivate. This bed is to be used for Potato planting this season, so I might just make the traditional potato planting weekend of a late Easter, good planning that, (not). To give you some idea just how damp some of the ground still is, last week while I was forking over another vegetable bed on N2 Plot I unearthed 2 more Horse leeches. They were in the soil approximately 20 meters from the nearest water source, which is the drainage ditch at the, lower southern end of my plots.


Many different wild life species have been making appearances lately due to the welcome sunnier weather. The drainage ditch at the southern end of my plots is currently teaming with tadpoles. Hopefully they will all change into frogs, helping to keep down the pests that attack my veggies later in the year. Many Ladybirds have been out and about for some time now, another voracious consumer of aphids and other pests. Lots of various types of Bumble bees have been gathering pollen on and around my plots and compared with last year I have already seen several Honey bees flying around. At least half a dozen different types of Butterflies have also been sighted. Despite the extremely wet Winter weather there seems to be an absence of slugs on my plots at the moment, which is unusual. Offsetting that, Garden snails seem to be out and about in ever increasing numbers. Another surprising none event whilst I have been digging and forking over my vegetable beds, is the lack of the more common garden birds coming down to soil level hunting for worms and insects. In fact to date none have bothered, even during the warmer sunnier days of late. Perhaps they are still busy constructing their nests at the moment.

Tadpoles
Tadpoles in the Drainage Ditch (14/April/14)
 Well I started writing this post over a week ago, since then Easter weekend has come and gone. Since last week 12 ranks of Potatoes have been planted into bed 2 of N2 Plot with another 5 ranks to be fitted into the same bed. Most beds are now ready for sowing and planting but for the past 2 days some heavy rain showers have halted work down the plots. Along with helping one of my family members move house over last weekend progress down the plots has been minimal. My first 2 rows of carrots have germinated along with the golden globe beetroot sown on N1 Plot and the Spring onions are just showing through in one of my raised beds at the lower end of N2 Plot. Hopefully lots more seed sowing will be completed this week. Another reason for not publishing this post is the lack of photographs I have taken recently, due to my camera playing up again. Text posts are fine but a picture speaks a thousand words in most cases.

Remember, when you are gardening take 2 steps forwards and 1 step back, because the weeds will always come up behind you!!

There's Always Tomorrow!! 




Comments

  1. Leeches!!! The tadpoles will be more welcome if they produce slug and snail eating frogs or toads. You seem to jave done plenty - we have areas of mud too.

    Is all the growth on your autumn raspberries that which has been produced this year, if so it is growing much quicker than ours?

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  2. From the research I've done, leeches will also devour small snails and some other garden pests but frogs and toads are more welcome. The growth on the Raspberries is mainly this years with only 4 or 5 of the plants not being cut back recently. Although the bed was flooded over the Winter it was very heavily composted last Autumn and the mild Winter weather added to their growth.

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There's Always Tomorrow!!