Meanwhile over in the school vegetable patch, the continued good weather has enabled us to get our season properly underway and as we start May, the frosts have been few and not particularly harsh but we are still experiencing some cold nights and the threat of frost is still hanging over us, so extreme caution is being practiced with everything safely undercover.
I think I’ve been talking about getting the leeks harvested since around January, well it certainly seems that way, but we have finally cleared that bed of everything except the onions, and a dozen gorgeous leeks ended up heading off to the school kitchen. I’m not sure what they will come back as but hopefully it will be something tasty, preferably with a lovely cheese sauce to bring out the flavour of the leeks. A few of the leeks had flower spikes either fully emerged or part way up their length and these were discarded into the compost bins along with the trimmings from those that were okay.
This will be the last harvest for sometime now as, with the exception of a handful of onions, all last years crops have now been cleared.
What we’ve been doing in our patch:
The last sections of the Foundation Area planters have now been painted and we are waiting for them to be assembled so that the youngest members of the school can start their own little vegetable patch. I will never win awards for my painting skills but I think that overall they will look pretty good with their alternate Beaumont Blue and Willow Green colour scheme;
The first of the seeds have been sown in trays and are, for the most part, through and living it up in the shelter of the poly tunnel. Currently, in seed trays, we have sown:
Chocolate Cherry Tomatoes, Amateur Tomatoes and Stupice tomatoes;
Cauliflowers (mixed), Quintal de Alsace Cabbage, Azure Kohl Rabi and Green Heading Calabrese and Broccoli;
‘Bleu de Solaise’ and ‘Jaune de Poitou’ Leeks;
Lettuce ‘Little Gem’;
Early Fortune’ Cucumber;
‘All Green Bush’ and ‘De Nice a Fruit Rond’ Courgettes;
Purple Podded Peas (saved seed); and
‘Rattlesnake’ Pole Beans (saved seed).
Wednesday saw 6 of my gardeners sowing ‘Long Red Surrey’ carrot, ‘Hollow Crowned’ parsnip and ‘Cheltenham Green Top’ beetroot seeds, into one of the raised beds. We’ve split this bed into quarters and three of the quarter have been sown with one crop each. Only half the beetroot quarter was sown as this will be a successional crop and the remaining quarter will be home to ‘Purple Haze’ carrots which will be sown next week; and
Fridays’ gardeners got the more mundane job of weeding the remaining beds which, to their credit, they did both without complaint and very effectively. Next week they will get a more exciting job and the Wednesday group will have the maintenance side to do.
What delights does May hold for us:
With seedlings up in in four different trays, these will need to be potted into the first size pot of which we have plenty thanks to a kind donation last year;
More seeds will need to be sown both of varieties we haven’t started yet and for the successional crops;
I have no doubt that weeding will feature heavily in Club sessions for the foreseeable future;
The pumpkin seedlings from the County Council Giant Pumpkin competition will need to be potted on; and
The container garden will need to be reinstated but this time primarily planted up with flowers and strawberry plants.
Arriving at school on Thursday (May 1st), I spotted a tray with half a dozen seedlings in it, sitting by one of the school doors. These were a gift from a gentleman who has moved into the bungalow immediately adjoining the school and his garden marches along the side by the poly tunnel and vegetable patch. He and I had enjoyed a lovely chat over the fence during the Easter holidays and he had promised the Gardening Club some tomato seedlings and another sort of seedling – something called Inca Berries or Cape Gooseberries. We had taken delivery of twelve tomato seedlings (one for each of my gardeners) a couple of days earlier and this new gift joined them in the poly tunnel.
I’ve never grown Inca Berries before and so this will be a new experience for me as well but with the carefully written instructions included with them and the gentleman himself within calling distance, we should be able to raise these to be productive plants which will hopefully provide a slightly different snack for all the children in the school to try.
I think that must be it for now, although I’m sure I’ve forgotten something but if you pop over to Lizzies’ blog you’ll find links to all the other gardens in the Collective and will be able to catch up with what they are doing at the moment.