My last garden update was March 16th. Since then St Patrick’s Day has passed and Easter is upon us. Sadly, it hasn’t been much warmer here, but we’re definitely benefiting from longer days. It’s a funny time of year in the garden– busy, busy with not much to show for it yet.
Patience is still required to resist sowing corn, peas, and pumpkins. Experience has taught me not to plant them out until the first of June because of the weather. Sowing them too early leads to extra labour as they grow and need potting up, sometimes multiple times each. And tunnel space occupied by 100 8″ pots that repeatedly need moving out of the way is useless labour. Often they are taking up space where tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers are anxious to start spreading their roots. Now that April is upon us, they’ll be sown soon. All three are great for letting the children do because the seeds are large and easy to handle. Some of the children have already been helping out…
Nuala likes to plant flowers–no surprise really for a five-year-old tomboy princess. She worked happily by my side sowing a fish box full of marigolds. In individual pots, she also seeded sunflowers and nasturtiums.
After watering, she declared she was finished and went off happily climbing the tree with Adrien. Seán Proinsias sowed courgettes and cucumbers. He was not so quick to abandon me, in fact, I had trouble getting him out of the tunnel, not that I’m complaining. Their help truly cuts my workload and is appreciated. He went on further to sow morning glories, hollyhocks, echinacea, gaillardia, asters and delphinium.
Afterwards, he and Adrien helped Johnny out by cracking stones. These stones were sifted from garden beds then placed in the pathways. Before placing in the paths, the soil is removed, sifted and moved to garden beds. It’s hard work, but the payoff is extra soil to top up stone free vegetable beds and paths that drain freely.
More work with stones as Johnny widened a gap between our first two fields. Since then, the area has been tidied around the edges of both sides of the walls and black plastic has been laid in preparation for willow to be planted for creating a willow arch. The next picture is the future home for a wooden bench that will overlook the raised beds. All soil removed, the paper laid to suppress weed growth, and then topped up with stones. These stones also need to be cracked, then levelled. Two planters, made of two recycled tires each, will don either side of the bench. It fills the space nicely. Seating is an important part of enjoying a garden and that particular patch is ‘one big ol’ stone’ just beneath a thin soil covering; not a very plantable space. Another raised bed there would detract from the L-O-V-E message we are sending with the other raised beds.
I took so much more pictures but will leave you with just three. All the others were soil filled ungerminated seeds or just germinated seeds. Boring after the first couple. But these three were noteworthy…
First our December sown tunnel spuds. Three weeks ago they were just barely showing. In our last garden update, I only posted a photo of the two biggest plants. Johnny liquid seaweed fertilized them and they immediately shot up. In this photo, they have been hilled up with soil once already. Very exciting progress. They need to be out of the ground in time for cucumbers to go in.
These are a new micro green for us this year. Sunflower shoots. We’ll, of course, eat some ourselves but have presold them to one of the restaurants that buys from us.
And these are the sunflower plants sown by Nuala, germinated after only five days. That is pretty quick, usually taking closer to double that. A few sunny afternoons and the polytunnel really heats up.
It is noon time here and I really need to get going outside. I will leave you with a picture, one better suited for my last post on fermented eggs, but here it is anyway. It is a picture of my March monthiversary egg. Johnny does this each and every month for me ❤