The large greenhouse was quite literally bursting at the seams, the staging was groaning under the weight of plants and the beds were primed and ready for planting. All that was needed was the weather, warm, sunny days and frost free nights ….. oh and I needed to find the courage to remove my lovingly tended plants out of the relative safety of the greenhouse and transplant them into the soil, to run the gauntlet of pigeons, slugs and unpredictable weather.
Tuesday was a fine day, with warm sunshine and following on as it did, from several frost free, decent temperature nights, I decided that I would take the plunge and start the task of transplanting my precious seedlings out of the greenhouse. The courgettes were the first to make the move and three of them were soon sitting alongside the strawberry plants in one of the half barrels.
Next was to be the mange tout and purple podded peas, as they have a tendency to start grabbing hold of the plants around them if left unchecked for too long but I needed to construct their support frame before planting could begin and so I spent a few minutes going through my collection of bamboo canes to find a dozen or so that were the same sort of length. It took me the best part of an hour to get the structure in place, complete with lengths of garden twine threaded through the bamboos horizontally, to provide additionally climbing support. Unfortunately and as luck would have it, by the time the bamboos were securely in place, the wind had picked up to such a level, as to potentially prove disastrous for the delicate stems of the peas and mange tout, as they were carried out of the greenhouses, were waiting to be transplanted, not to mention once in situ.
I did, however, manage to plant out one of the mixed Winter Squash seedlings which has taken up residence behind the pea support and will be trained to climb up and over the fence. I sank a beer trap beside it to give it some slug protection, fastened the main vine to a conveniently placed bamboo (I always grow stuff up against the fence, so bamboos are always in place) and left it to its’ own devices. I do love mixed seeds as you never quite know which variety you’re going to get.
Thwarted and frustrated, I opted to leave the planting out of the delicate seedlings, for a calmer day and instead turned my attention to the structure needed to support the climbing beans. Before long I had another set of bamboos, intertwined with garden twine, sitting in one of the raised beds but, as with the first structure, the wind made it impossible for any planting out to take place.
Yesterday (Wednesday) was a much calmer day and so after school, the Mudlets and I headed back out into the garden, collected the peas and mange tout plants from the greenhouses and set about planting them against the bamboo frame. Once I had explained what needed to be done, Middle Mudlet was able to plant 6 of the Oregon Sugar pods along the front, without any help from me. I planted 6 purple podded peas along the back of the structure, nearest to the chicken wire fence and then Little Mudlet, with some help, planted 6 Golden Sweet mange tout along the sides.
The thing about peas and mange tout is that pigeons and sparrows really, REALLY like them and love nothing more than to nibble away at the succulent growing tips and so once all the seedlings were safely planted, the Mudlets and I set about installing the Mudville Bird Scaring device which had worked really well last year, if the lack of plant damage was anything to go by. It didn’t take long to install and now our seedlings are protected by 8 or 9 old CDs which are merrily spinning around in even the slightest of breezes. The CDs not only look like shiny owl eyes but also reflect flashes of rainbow of light around the garden, as they whirl about in the breeze/wind. I’m not sure which bit scares the birds but it seems to work and that’ll do for me.
The last job for yesterday was to erect the tripods against which some of tomatoes will be growing and these have been installed along the fence, between the bamboos up which the Winter Squash will be grown. The girls helped me sort the various bamboos into trios of similar length and once we had them in place, we tidied away our tools, shut up the greenhouses and went inside for a well earned dinner.