The strawberries are covered in blossom!
So it’s been a long time since I managed to keep this blog up-to-date, although I didn’t realise until now that I’d managed to miss an entire year!
Last year wasn’t a great year for growing, although we did manage to get our first butternut squashes (which were fabulous) and cape gooseberries – successes that we will hopefully repeat this year.
In the garden, for possibly the first time I have everything (moderately) weeded and planned. The greenhouse is full of tomatoes, aubergines, chillis, cape gooseberries and cucumbers – as well as some leeks sat in seed trays waiting to go over to the allowment. The strawberry and alpine strawberry patches are both in full bloom, and the raspberries are starting to shoot strongly.
The Bramling Cross hop is still only a few inches high, but I think it’s a naturally late starter. The other hops, grown from seed last year, are going crazy and the longest bines must be close to 10 feet long already!
On the allotment, potatoes and the first of the cabbages are in, and I’ve got more beds clear than I think every before. Leeks, parsnips, beans and squashes will be going in over the next couple of weeks, along with anything else that I (a) think of, and (b) have room to plant.
I’ll try to remember to take some pictures the next time I’m over there!
But progress nonetheless!
I managed to get all the early potatoes in the ground before the end of April (just!), along with onions and beetroot.
In the greenhouse, the tomatoes are settling into their growbags and I’m rushing around trying to find enough containers to take all the chillies, peppers, aubergines and cucumbers that have all germinated with impressive success and are just waiting to escape their windowsill pots.
There’s blossom on most of our trees, the raspberries are waking up nicely and the currants and gooseberries are dripping with flowers too.
If I can just keep the weeds under some vague control, this year is shaping up to be a great one!
It’s been very quiet around here, both on the blog and outside. Winter was quite cold and spring has started fairly wet, so the amount of work I’ve managed to do has been limited. This is my feeble excuse for such a lack of posts!
That said, the allotment is looking better than ever before at this time of year; the grass is under control, the paths are trimmed and a growing area has been properly dug over. Even the fruit bushes are looking fairly tidy, although the trees have remained fairly unpruned as I seem to have misplaced my pruning saw.
In the garden, the greenhouse has been cleared out and filled with chitting potatoes and the beds, while not exactly weed-free, aren’t looking too bad at all.
The weather is still bitterly cold, which means very little actual planting can start yet. However, the things destined for the greenhouse are now cooking in the propagator – tomatoes, peppers (both sweet and hot), aubergines and cape gooseberries.
The tomatoes are a mix of ones we’ve had success with before – Sungold and Tigerella – along with a couple that failed to grow last year – Black Krim and Black Russian.
I still had a few ageing Orange Bell sweet pepper seeds, and a couple of hot peppers too – Chocolate Habanero and some freebies from Wahaca.
The last two – Black Beauty aubergines and cape gooseberries – are seeds I’ve tried before and never really got to germinate and grow into functioning plants. Fingers crossed this year!
I’ve finally cut down the hop bines, and taken off the remaining hop flowers.
The majority of the flowers were taken off a couple of weeks ago to go straight into my green hop beer; this small collection was all that was left, but it’s still a much bigger crop than I had dared to expected when I planted the hop earlier this year.
It only took a couple of hours in a very low temperature oven (with the door open) to dry them out properly – they’re now all safely tucked away in the freezer waiting for me to decide what beer to brew with them!