Tuesday, 16 March 2010

And we're off...

I can't quite believe that it is the middle of March already. Hopefully, you've been enjoying the lovely sunny and spring-like weather that we've had for the last two weekends - I know we have!
One of the pleasant things about moving to a new house, is discovering all of the places where bulbs were planted in the garden - they're shooting up all over the place and they all appear to be different! Unfortunately for the majority of them, they're right in the middle of the pergola plot that we're currently digging up - but never mind! We're taking our time with it, so at least some of these bulbs will get to flower before they're dug up!

Preparing the wires to support vines and the morello cherry under the pergola

This weekend we tackled a job that's been on our list for a while - to fix the cracked, broken and missing panes in the greenhouse. No easy task this, as the greenhouse itself seems to be held together with putty, mastic and panel pins. Also, each pane is held in place by the one below it, meaning if we need to replace lower panes (as we do on the roof) we have to try and do so without knocking out the pane above ... We managed to fit 2 panes (in the side and rear of the greenhouse) this weekend - hopefully the roof will follow next week!

Potatoes being chitted earlier in the month - they need a cool, light place for a couple of weeks to sprout.

Things have also been rather busy on the vegetable front. On the first weekend in March I sowed my sweet and chilli pepper seeds in module trays. I've got three varieties of the sweet (California Wonder, Romano Mixed and Minibell Mixed) and two of the chilli (Cayenne and Numex Twilight). I covered the module trays with their plastic lids, put them inside our mini greenhouse, then placed this inside our main greenhouse to see if I can achieve germination temperature; it did hit the mid-20s this weekend in the middle of the day and they require c18 degrees for germination. Watch this space (there is nothing happening as yet....)

Greenhouse, greenhouse

I also potted on some of the cuttings from our rosemary that I took in the autumn, as they'd started to grow quite vigorously - hopefully transplanting them won't knock them back too much.

This weekend I got even more veg started off:
  • I planted some of our shallot sets (Picandor) in one of the raised beds (bed 5). First I made two drills, about 20cm apart, the length of the bed. I watered these sparingly, then added the shallots, spaced c. 15 cm apart (6 per row). I then covered with soil, leaving only the top of the shallots poking through. To protect from the weather, as well as our bird and squirrel populations, I then placed home-made mini-cloches over each bulb.
  • I started off 3 of our 6 potato planters: 2 with Belle de Fontenay and 1 of Yukon Gold. Each planter has 5 seed potatoes a piece.
  • I filled some more module trays with 3 varieties of tomato (Roma, Costoluto Fiorentino and Moneymaker) and some French Marigolds. These trays are in the mini greenhouse in the greenhouse.
Potato planters out on the plot

Preparing bed 5 for the shallot sets: using string to measure a straight-ish drill

A lone shallot - I suspect I could have planted them more densely. I may interplant later in the season with a different crop.

My recycled mini cloches!

I've still got a tonne of things to sow this month, as well as biting the bullet on pruning the morello cherry to start off its life as a fan-trained tree - eek! Looks like I'll be out in the garden for the last two weekends in March too - here's hoping the weather holds!

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