Garden Diary, 25th April


With the hot, dry weather of the past week a lot of things in the are beginning to be lulled into a false sense of security that summer has arrived. Even the camera objected to the very bright sunlight today as you will see from the pictures here.

The main theme of todays post is the readiness of the beans and peas to put out into the garden.

Today I have re-constructed the rose arches, plastic coated wire frames, that will support the bean plants and put them into their positions.

I well-watered the ground beneath in readiness for tomorrows planting.

From these plants (right) I expect a crop of some 20-25 lbs over the season, provided the slugs are kept at bay.

Once planted they will be remarkably self sufficient, requiring only thorough and regular watering and the occasional liquid feed during the cropping period.

Behind the beans (right) are the peas which are also ready to plant out. They require staking out in a good, sunny spot under a cover of netting. Probably the single most popular frozen vegetable there is still nothing quite like the taste of a good, crunchy green pea straight from its pod. The netting is essential to keep off the birds who also have a taste for the sweet young peas. Like the beans they are prone to attack from slugs and measures must be taken to stop them. For those who prefer to avoid chemical deterrents, crushed egg-shells scattered around the plants can be very good or a scattering of knobbly, sharp twigs. But good netting, or even wire mesh, is a must to deter the ever-hungry birds. The plant in the background is a mauve flowering clematis for my side boundary, to replace one I lost during the harsh snows of the winter.

Finally for today, the courgettes. Again, they are good, strong plants. Half will be planted out into a prepared bed while the others will remain in the greenhouse. These too are prone to the attentions of slugs and need to be watched. I am hopeful of a better crop than last year.

That is all I can think of for the moment. It will be a few more weeks before the leeks, carrots etc. are strong enough to be bedded out so I shall content myself with mowing the lawn, watering, seeing off the birds and slugs and tending the fruit cage until then.

The onions are growing strongly and all of the early spuds have ‘broken the soil’ while the herbs are also flourishing. I also sowed another few rows of beetroot and carrot this evening for a later crop.

Despite the recent beautiful sunshine the dangers of frost are still not completely gone. The old saw, plant nowt till the May is out is still worth credence. Still, the May is beginning to blossom now (see top) so maybe we’ll get away with it!

But a little diligence now will pay dividends later on.

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