Dry days have been few and far between so far this April. Now I’m not complaining, there’s no denying we need the rain to fill the reservoirs and aquifers and my garden has taken on a lovely green hue as herbaceous perennials spring into growth. But I had started to suffer a window sill and cold frame backup, with plants needing to be potted on and moved into the cold frames to harden off but with no space available in the cold frames for them. It’s just been too wet to plant anything out. Well to be honest it’s been a bit on the cold side too.
So with the weather forecast suggesting more sunshine than showers yesterday I decide to make a dash for it and in a flurry of activity I planted out, potted on, sowed more seed and shuffled plants between window sills, cold frame and the allotment.
The first to be planted out were the first batch of sweet peas. Sown back in February they were great looking, bushy plants in desperate need of some support so they could do their thing and start climbing. Due to lack of space at the allotment these sweet peas were destined for a hazel wigwam in my front garden. The idea is that they will add some height and provide scent for the warm, sheltered garden in front of my kitchen. To be honest the ground was a little on the wet side to be planting into but with the forecast suggesting another couple of weeks of similar wet weather these plants were going in regardless. Sweet peas can grow to over 2 metres over the summer and will produce huge numbers of flowers if you keep picking them so all this effort requires some food. I tend to add a bit of compost to the planting hole with a handful of comfrey pellets. Comfrey is high in potassium, the nutrient that plants use in the flowering process so this should encourage a good supply of blooms over the next couple of months.
Another batch of broad beans and some scabious plants were taken up to the allotment and planted up. Whilst there I spotted the first Charlotte potato pushing through so grabbing a spade I earthed up the shoots to protect them from any frost.
Back at home I sowed some more lettuce, basil and carrots in pots and then moved into the cold frame some antirrhinums, asters and larkspur. It’s all a bit of juggling act at the moment trying to have enough plants to plant out with some spares. It’s also time when gardeners start to gamble, gamble on the weather that is. When to sow the tender plants such as french beans, cucumbers and squashes can be a difficult one to call. None of them like sitting in cold, wet soil and don’t like fluctuations in temperature. Sown and grown inside these plants can grow quickly with the warmth of a window sill or greenhouse. The problem is if it hasn’t warmed up outside you could have some triffids on your hands probably not a problem if you have a greenhouse but squashes and courgettes are hard to maintain on a window sill once they get going.
It’s already later than I have previously sown but I decided to sow some courgettes, Defender, Romanseco and a patty pan type squash called Sunbeam and also a couple of pots of a red skinned squash called Uchiki kuri. I’m going to wait another week or so before I sow any cucumbers or french beans.
As I’m writing this it has been teeming down for about 6 hours now and I’m just preparing to go out with waterproof trousers and wellies on. Such a good look but at least I’ll be dry. They say a months worth of rain will have fallen by the end of the week and I can well believe it. Hope the plants don’t drown!!