Sunday, 13 April 2008

Ready, steady........

The weather's a funny old thing isn't it? The British are famous for talking about it, but then, when we have so much of it, it's gardly surprising is it.

So, here's me talking about it like everyone else, and the reason I am is that all week I'd been watching the weather reports in the hope that they'd change their minds along the way, and forecast us a lovely weekend.

Well, they didn't, but we had a good one anyway!

Woke up on Saturday morning, looked out the window and the sun was shining brightly. Watched the early morning forecast and it foretold of another washout day, so I stayed in bed a little longer. The next forecast had changed more favourably, so I jumped out of bed, loaded the car up and headed down to the plot.

Several weeks of neglect (result of the apalling weather recently) are not dificult to spot. The plot is looking a little barren.

The garlic is coming on nicely, a few of the onions are showing through finally and I have a couple of rhubarbs poking through - two out of five ain't bad surely?

I'd brought a tray of garlic that had been growing in tubs with me, not sure if they'll split as they've not been exposed to frost as yet, but we'll see. I planted them in one of the new raised beds, along with the remaining onions (about 30 in total, equal amounts of red, white and standard).

The brussels sprouts have just about done their stuff so I pulled them up - not without a fight! Stripped the remaining foliage from them and cast them aside to rot of their own accord.

I then set about preparing one of the beds to take my first early potatoes - Arran Pilots. I planted a row of them, about 10-12 as I remember, gave the rest to my neighbours as they looked after me last year.

Obviously with a day of good weather I wasn't alone on the plot, and I was speaking to one of the neighbours immediately next to me Lawrence, and he said that I had a weasel on my plot! Apparently there had been a few of them (plot holders, not weasels) watching this little thing poke it's head up from behind a stack of roof tiles I've had sitting whilst I figure out what to do with them. The weasel apparently didn't seem overly bothered with his audience. One of the other plot holders (John) further up the allotment appeared a little while later and told me I had a stoat on my plot! John's the kind of guy that will have gone away and looked it up, so I'm inclined to believe I have a stoat.

Anyway, do you think I saw him yesterday? Not a chance! I'll keep my eye out though.

I pottered about for about 3 hours in all, ended up with a sunburnt neck (which the wife chastised me for upon returning home), aching limbs, sore hands (one of which I managed to cut on something whilst weeding between the onions). Whoever said this wasn't fun? I'd either become acustomed to the aches and pains last year, or just got used to them, I haven't decided yet.

Back home things are a little less strenuous. I've planted numerous seeds and things in my new greenhouse. So far we have:

Beetroot - boltardy. These are all about an inch high now.
Pea - Stephens. Growing nicely, transferred into small pots now as they'd outgrown their modules.
Broad beans - Martock and Aquadulce. Both growing well in their trays, probably about 2 inches high.
Parsnips - can't remember which types but I've listed them previously. They all doing pretty well having been started off in loo rolls in the heated propagator.
Celeriac - plenty of little seedlings showing their faces now, will take some thinning out I think!
Asparagus peas - these have yet to show their true leaves yet, but seem to be doing ok.
I planted some Tiger Tom tomatoes and they're yet to appear, but I'm sure they will. Also planted some of what I thought were called "Pomodoro" - only to look them up and find out Pomodoro is actually Italian for Tomato! Should do well when we go to Tuscany later in the year then!
There are a few Melon seedlings growing too, cauliflower and brussel sprouts, and asparagus seedlings (which look a bit feeble if I'm honest).

Someone of the Grapevine had an idea to grow sunflowers from the birdseed that we buy and have a kind of mini "competition" so I sowed a few and they're coming on nicely - show winners? We'll see.

I also bought some raspberry canes from ebay recently, some Autumn Bliss and some other earlier fruiting ones. Three of each and I've simply pot them in pots for the time being until I plant them properly on the plot - I think I know where they'll go.

Whilst out and about today we popped into Dobbies Garden World near Bletchley and I picked up some flower bulbs for the border that I have promised to create for ages - but again, because of the weather haven't. Can't remember what they are at the moment, but no doubt over the coming months I'll introduce them to you. I also have some Aquelegia seeds in a tray in the propagator, which I'm hoping to use in the border.

Ooh, just remembered, some of the above mentioned bulbs are Gladiola - Ice Cream.

I'm sure there's more, but I have the memory of a goldfish, so I'll quit whilst I'm ahead.

One more thing - I chuffin hate mice!

It would appear that I have a resident mouse/mices on my shed who has an appetite for summer flowering bulbs! I'd left a load of some bulbs I received free with an online order for plants in pots on the shelves, then went in the shed one evening last week and noticed a load of holes in the compost where the bulbs should have been. The cats round here - of which there are plenty, are clearly rubbish hunters.

Until next time...


Evington Hilltop Adventures said...

Mice are ok.......deep fried!!!

Veg Heaven said...

How can you tell the difference between a weasel and a stoat?

The first is weasily recognise but the other is stoatally different.

I'll get me coat!

HayWayne said...

Don't you Flummin start! I've already had that from the dude that was telling me about seeing it! I thought they were winding me up as a result, but nope - had it confirmed by another plot holder. Maybe they're all together on this...

Lavenderblue and Storm said...

Could be worse - could be big fat rats running around.