On a morning like today, with the sun shining and the outdoor temperature an impressive 14.5C, you could almost believe that Winter was finally losing her grip on our part of the world and that Spring had arrived. That’s ‘almost believe‘ though, not ‘know for sure‘ because one thing that gardening has taught me over the last few years is that Ma Nature doesn’t read books and most certainly does not follow all the rules, or that the advice in regards the seasons and specifically their start and end dates, written by experts can only ever be regarded as guidelines, best case scenarios and should not be followed verbatim. Warm as the day is today, there is still the possibility of snow and hard frosts have been known to hit as late as the back-end of May, as I learned to my cost back in 2010.
With this thought in mind, all my planting and sowing so far this season has been confined to the kitchen and the little greenhouse and I haven’t even sown the Parsnip seeds yet. To be fair I’m not entirely sure that I’m going to grow parsnip this year but I do need to get some carrots in the ground, as we go through a lot of them, and on the dining room window sill 26 King Edward seed potatoes have been sitting in egg boxes chitting and are about ready for planting out – potatoes are another thing we eat a lot of.
Monday saw me potting on the last of the chilli seedlings. I had already repotted 20 or so of the largest seedlings a couple of weeks ago and moved them out into the greenhouse, where they have done pretty well, although they have needed a fleece blanket overnight to stave off the tickle of Jack Frost. I haven’t lost a single one of the greenhouse chilli plants, despite my concerns especially through the arctic snap of last week and so I was happy to pot on the remainder and put all bar the smallest, weediest 8 or 9, out with the others and the little greenhouse is now home to approximately 60 chilli, Jalapeno and sweet pepper plants but I am still covering these at night.
Also in the greenhouse are the sunflower, pumpkin, winter squash, courgette, cucumber and bean seedlings that the Mudlets sowed a few weeks ago, as well as around 25 tomato plants. If the warmer weather stays then it won’t be long before the pumpkin and squash plants start to take over the greenhouse but I need to resist the temptation to plant them out before May 15th and even then, only if the frosts have been absent for at least a week, will I consider putting them into their final positions.
With the chillies for the most part relocated to the greenhouse, there was space on the wide kitchen windowsill for another propagator and so I planted some ‘Scarlet Emperor’ Runner Beans, ‘Yellow Wax’ Climbing Beans, ‘Fasold’ Climbing Bean, ‘Oregon Sugar Pod’ Mange tout, some more cucumber seed although I don’t know the variety because the packet simply says ‘cucumber’ and some mixed ‘Salad Bowl’ lettuce.
I’ll sow more runners, climbing beans, wax beans and lettuce in a couple of weeks to try to ensure that we get a steady supply of each over the summer and the carrots will also be sown in stages to try to achieve a well spaced supply of roots but that’s pretty much all I’ll sow this year. Definitely not the same level of varieties as previous years but this shouldn’t work the beds too hard and should enable me to potter about enjoying my vegetable garden, without over taxing my health.
Slowly but surely I’m making inroads into the jobs that need doing in the vegetable patch ……… now if only I could muster the enthusiasm to clean the large greenhouse!