Ok - so it's rickety and every remaining glass pane is in danger of falling out and smashing spectacularly. Yes - we've had to spend a surprising amount of money on perspex to fill the holes. And yes - we've finally given up and just started to plug the gaps with bubble wrap fixed to the frame with gaffer tape. But it is still a great (albeit apparently a non-conventionally sized) space for starting off seedlings!
Over the Easter break I was able to get my shiny new staging set up (by which I mean I started trying to put it together, got confused, then left it for someone else to do...!) and it is already groaning under the weight of seed trays and plant pots.
My pre-ordered copy of A year with James Wong arrived over Easter so, armed with a fairly long list, I purchased both plants and packets of seeds for a range of standard herbs.
Already at the seedling stage in the greenhouse we have chilli peppers, sweet peppers, tomatoes (Roma and Costoluto Fiorentino), peas (Hurst Green Shaft), sweet peas (Antique Fantasy Mixed) and broad beans (Bunyards Exhibition). They've now been joined by seed trays containing more tomato varieties (Garden Pearl and Gardener's Delight), leeks (Musselbrough Improved), brussels sprouts (Trafalgar) and a collection of herbs (chives, borage, feverfew, sweet marjoram, echinacea and pot marigolds).
Same mistake as last year with the first batch of sown seeds - no labels! These could be sweet peppers, or they could be chilli peppers....
Out in the beds, the shallots are coming up nicely and all of the sets are now in. The autumn-planted garlic, despite looking a little ragged around the edges after being buried in snow, has now shot up. Last week I sowed half a row each of my carrots (Early Nantes) and beetroot (Chioggia). Usually I just chuck stuff in, but for the carrots I did dig quite a deep drill, which I part re-filled with sharp sand and compost, before sowing. Given how stony our soil is, I suspect that a round-rooted variety would perhaps have been more sensible, but we'll see! The potato sacks have all been filled, and the earlier sowings are already throwing up shoots and have had additional compost added twice. My long plastic cloche arrived late last week, so our salad bed is now in action too, with sowings of spring onion (Shimonita and Lilia), chard (Bright Lights), lettuce (little gem and sonette) and spinach. These will be joined by some rocket and mixed salad leaves this weekend.
The cloche covers most of the bed and is protecting the salad sowings. I also sprinkled some French marigold seeds in the gap to add colour, reduce weeds and act as 'sacrifice' for insects.
We also finished the most recent bit of landscaping under the pergola, which is now de-weeded and has been gravelled over. We even had time to go shopping for some 'accessories' - a lovely woven hazel obelisk has taken pride of place and will act as an excellent support for the sweet peas later in the season - hubby's now finished installing this 'garden sculpture', complete with inventive solution to round-planting. See http://twitgoo.com/nutq8