4th April, 2010

It's April already and yet spring still feels like it hasn't arrived. At last the daffodils have flowered and there are signs of bud break on the trees. Ever the optimist, I've being busy sowing and planting.

First up though, I have been thinking about what to grow against a north facing fence that replaced the Leylandii hedge. It's a big expanse of boring wood that is close to the conservatory and is crying out for some green cover. As ever, with my economical nature, I wanted to get something that was edible. So my initial thoughts of a flowering climber were quickly replaced. The decision turned out to be not too hard as there are not many fruit trees or climbers that will grow on a north facing aspect. The solution came in the form of an acid cherry. As luck would have it I stumbled across a free cherry tree offer on the internet. All it cost was the post and packing at £6.99. So it came last week and it's now planted and pruned. Maybe the link is still alive and there are still free trees on offer?

I've severely pruned it so that I can train it into a fan against the hedge. The idea is to promote two lateral branches from which further laterals will develop. It came bare rooted so it will need lots of watering.

The greenhouse is looking more like its purpose, full of seed trays.

And it has that lovely warm feel to it at last.

Notice the loo roll method of growing parsnip and peas.

I put the fig outside so that it can get more sun as the greenhouse gets afternoon shade. The embryo figs are starting to swell nicely.

I planted out more strawberry plants that I'd propagated from runners last autumn. I was going to give them away but decided you can never have enough strawberries. The soil here was good for making pots, so much clay! I thought it best to grow the strawberries in it rather than struggle to get it in good condition. I can concentrate the compost application to other areas for now.

The gooseberry has plenty of pristine leaf, although it's far from a bush at the moment and will need a few years before it produces a decent yield.

The redcurrants are also looking rather stick like after I split the original so that I can prune them properly to form a productive bush; again I'll have to wait a few years for some decent yields.

The buds on the plum tree should open any day now.

All five of the rhubarb plants are sprouting which should allow me to force each crown on an annual rotation. The biggest plants look like they can withstand forcing so I'll try one of them next year.

I've sown the following:

Carrots, coriander, pumpkin, runner beans, sweetcorn, courgette, sprouts, parsnip, rocket, tomatoes, dwarf beans, Borlotti beans.

I have also planted the spring sown onion sets and the spinach. But I still haven't planted the potatoes, that will happen in the next few days.


Anonymous said...

I use loo rolls for my broad beans - didn't think about parsnips, too late this year but next year! Thanks for the tip,

The Idiot Gardener said...

Having spent way too much on fibre pots, I will be opting for either the loo roll or newspaper approach. I prefer the latter as I've heard bad things about loo roll mould!

Mark said...

I love this time of year with the chance to sow lots of seeds. I am also trying the loo roll method for my parsnips. Worked well for my carrots last year. I haven't got enough to use for my peas as well though.