Saturday, 4 April 2009

A very satisfying weekend !

What a difference the extra hour has made this week ... I've even managed a few after work visits to the lottie. If I can keep it up, it'll be looking fabulous before long.

Yesterday I managed a 7 hour visit and today I've been there for 8 hours ! I'm completely shattered now, but very pleased with what I've managed to get done.

The frogspawn has hatched and I now have tiny brown tadpoles wriggling around and the king cup is about to burst into bloom. I don't have as many tadpoles as last year, but thats not such a bad thing as the pond was heaving last year.

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I've managed to plant most of my potatoes now - the brick bed has Arran Pilots (they've been in a week or so), Charlotte & Pink Fir Apple. The Cara have been planted down at the bottom of the plot, in front of the raspberry beds. Need to try and find some space for the King Edwards, they'll have to be squeezed in somewhere.

The meteor peas that I planted late last year have turned out very poor, so I've pulled them all up and sown some new ones - three different varieties in total. I've already got my pea twigs in place in the main bed, hopefully they will deter the pigeons, which seem to be having a free for all by all accounts at the moment.

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My overwintering onions had resulted in precisely 4 onions ! So I bought some Turbo to replace them. I've also put three rows of red ones in too (can't remember the variety) and given the spares to Nick next door.

The sweetpeas are just pushing through the soil - when they get a little bigger I intend to pinch them out. I've finished the frames - they don't look as attractive as the willow ones that I had a couple of years ago, but they will do the job nicely.

Nick has some tomatoes for me - I've forgotten what he said they were, Marmande was mentioned and I think Alicante and something beginning with an 'O'. He also has some yellow ones for me ... I've been left in charge of them as he is away for a couple of weeks ... hope they don't die. I've promised to give them a seaweed drink while he is away.

Having mentioned that this year I only have one broad bean (and that is self sown !) Sue & Jenny took pity on me and gave me some of their spares - I think they will go at the end of the Cara to finish the bed. The bolt on the inside of the lottie door is working very well, to the extend that my visitors today have requested a bell so that they don't stand shouting for 5 mins before I hear them !

Here are my Musselbrough Leeks:

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I've been tidying up and weeding the flower bed which is looking much better, but the Ox Eye Daisies seem to be taking over ... I think I'll have to be very strict with them and dig them up. The Cowslips are just flowering, they are so beautiful ... and I discovered yesterday that you can eat the flower part. Apparently they are full of Vitamin E - they have a very delicate flavour. Must try not to eat them all though ! The daffodils are now fully in bloom and the herbs are starting to green up again.

This week I shall try to plant up my seedlings, although they have gone a little leggy from being in the greenhouse .. they are now outside getting used to the wind. Hope they don't get eaten.

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The raspberries are now tied up and looking much neater - I think I may need to do some more maintenance during the summer, but for now they look OK.

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I've started to clear the junk from the jungle, with a view to commencing digging over Easter ... can't say I'm looking forward to it, but I've put it off enough ... and I'm out of space, so I definitely need to get a move on. I'm hoping it won't take as long to dig over as the other side. I need to figure out a way to get the scaffolding boards that are currently at home up to the lottie ... I might need to cut them in half so that I can get them into the car. I may use them to make raised beds, as there doesn't appear to be as much soil on that side of the lottie. I've still got three pallet collars to use up as well (hinged 'boxes') ... might have to do a bit of planning.

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One of the strawberry plants in the glass greenhouse is in flower and actually looks to have a couple of green strawberries on it. I need to urgently thin out the main strawberry bed - I've been taking out the creeping buttercup & dandelions, but it looks a mess. I've decided to buy a couple of sacks of manure and some compost to try to fill out the bed. I also need to put a path through the middle (especially as I've now filled the path in front of the greenhouse with blueberry bushes and those newspaper fruit twigs.

We finished the weekend following a local lantern carnival through the busy streets of Sheffield. It was an amazing night with some awesome lanterns ... I'll try really hard to get some photos loaded. The procession was led by a samba band who really lent the event a carnival atmosphere. When we reached the cemetary there were some fire acrobats to entertain the crowd and some special small lanterns were lit and allowed to float away into the sky - it was beautiful.

Next weekend I think I need to sow all of my main seeds - somehow April has crept up on me .. am I normally this far behind ?