Saturday, 29 March 2014

Spring Garden

The allotment Pond
It's nearly April and the weather has most definitely turned. It's been misty but mild, wet but sunny. Spring is really here. Most of the bulbs we planted around the pond are showing signs of flowering and it feels like the last of the frost is finally on its' way. 
Runner bean supports
So far we have planted out all our potatoes, and I have recently sown some runner beans. A bit of a gamble but I am fairly confident that the mulch will help them cope with the cool weather and they won't show themselves until the last frost has pasted. We also transplanted out our onions which we started from seed in late winter. The second set of broad beans have began to poke out of the mulch and the peas we planted back in the winter are still alive and doing ok. 
Bumble bee enjoying
some willow pollen
We used willow as the pond borders and a short while after construction blossoms began to appear. Soon after the bumble bees showed up. It was lovely to see the bees taking an interest in the allotment. I hope that between the mulch, flowering plants and the pond many varieties of beneficial creatures would become regular features down by the allotment.
The garden bed showing
heavily harvested greens 
Back in the home garden we have been feasting on spring greens.  Fast growing greens that we planted back in winter are really going for it now that the days are longer and warmer. We've been enjoying mizuna, mustard greens, black kale, coriander, spring onions, perpetual spinach, and in the greenhouse, rainbow chard, pak choi, corn salad and cabbage leaves. We've started leaving two days between harvests but the plants, in the greenhouse especially, seem to be growing faster than we can eat them (no complains) which means that we get to eat them everyday which is great. If you haven't planted out your spicy salads yet, I'll recommend doing it soon. 
Rainbow Chard and
Pak Choi. Inter-planted
with beetroot.
Cabbage heads nearly ready for picking
Mulching the bed 
I read somewhere that prolonged exposure to UV rays may cause the soil organisms to become irradiated, rendering them incapable of processing the nutrients in the soil and in some cases killing them all together. I guess this is why nature doesn't allow soil to be left uncovered for too long. With this knowledge we decided to cover our garden bed with a layer of bulky course grade compost (home-made of course).
We've also got a few seedlings on the go. More kale, chard, onions, beetroot and peas are well on the way and would be ready for planting out soon. As always we try to stagger the sowing so that we would be able to harvest over a longer period as oppose to harvesting all at once. We've been planting in two to three weeks intervals and fingers crossed it'll pay off later on down the line. 
Lastly, I visited the May Project Gardens in London last weekend and it was amazing. It's always a treat visiting the gardens and reconnecting with all the lovely people there. Over the weekend we sowed seeds, pruned fruit trees, trained a mature grape vine, transplanted seedlings, prepared the polytunnel for growing salads, tomatoes, peppers, and other heat loving crops, and finished off with a feast cooked and enjoyed around an open fire. If you're ever in London and you're looking for an inspiring place to visit I highly recommend the May Project Gardens in Morden, South London.

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