Spring is just around the corner and thoughts once again turn to growing.
The generous donations from Vegware have been used to buy equipment that will gently warm the soil under seedlings so that they start to grow. The pictures show our first sowings of lettuce growing in the incubator that will be planted up in the next few weeks and transferred into the cold frame shown in the second picture. The underground cable in the cold frame will warm the plants just enough to ward off the cold and keep them growing till it is time to plant them outside.
Thanks again to you all at Vegware.
The garden looks a bit untidy at this time of year. Summer vegetables have finished and have started to die back leaving only the winter crops like the Broccoli Romanesco in the picture that are just starting to fruit. One trial crop Cucamelon produces small grape sized fruit that look like a water melon, but taste like a cucumber. We do have a few Beetroot still looking healthy despite the recent dry weather. Unfortunately most of the Parsnip that we grew have been eaten by mice, but they haven’t touched any of the Swede so we will have something to pick for our winter soups.
After waiting many long weeks we are able to harvest our French Beans and our Potatoes. The plum tree is fruiting very well and we are hoping that this year the wasps do not eat all the fruit as soon as it ripens as they have done in previous years.
It has been another busy month here on the community garden in Meesden. The warm damp weather over the past month has boosted growth, but has brought with it a large increase in slug activity. Thankfully the early potatoes escaped their attention, but in just one night they ate 50% of the French Bean plants that had been planted out and every single Runner Bean plant. A panic purchase of slug pellets was made and with a daily scattering has halted their invasion, but we had to re-sow Runner Bean seeds and hope that they will grow and crop before the season ends.
Beans and Potatoes
Beside a vigorous growth of Rhubarb which we have been able to crop over the past month, most of the work this season has been preparation. Thanks to a recent spell of warm dry weather the ground has been prepared and the structure is in place for the Runner Beans, the recently sown French Beans are growing well in pots and re ready for planting on and the early crop of potatoes are flowering ready for lifting next month.
Seeds that were sown in April are only just starting to grow, the cold wet weather in April having held them back. If the warm weather continues we should be able to plant out most of the remaining crop in a week or two.
There has been much hard work done over the past few weeks digging the ground, weeding and soil improving. Most seeds have yet to be sown or to show above ground level. Some early plantings were dug up by rabbits and a nice patch of strawberry plants were eaten by deer that roam freely around our village at night. Our village shop is still selling onions that I grew last year and have stored over winter in my garage. I am planning a wider range of vegetables this year, but will have to see what the local wildlife allows me to grow.
You can see that our vegetable plot is now in full production and the vegetables for sale in our village are plentiful. Thank you again for your kind donation that has helped make this venture possible.
Plants are growing very rapidly as you can see from the photos below. We are digging the early potatoes and pulling up the fist few onions which are being sold to people in the village in our Friday shop. The runner beans are climbing up the support that we purchased with the money you kindly donate. With the aid of the fencing and netting we have so-far been able to keep the birds and rabbits at bay. We thank you very much for the money you give as this makes gardening for the community much more rewarding!
April is a busy month for all gardeners. The first signs of spring and the promise of warmer weather to come is encouraging us to spend more time in the garden. The early potatoes are doing well, as are the onions. Most other crops are still just seedlings or have just been sown, but the ground is getting warmer and we should see a great deal more growth in the coming weeks.