Finally the warm(ish) weather has arrived, sunshine, blustery winds, heavy showers, lambs, daffodils and spring has truly sprung.. Despite the slow start to the year (weather wise) with perseverance and determination (and continual repairs to the polytunnel) we are taking our first harvests from the fruits of our labour earlier in the year…. spinach has been taken to the hospital kitchen and we’ve started selling fresh salad bags. We had a delicious mix of spicy leaves which was drastically reduced one evening when a rabbit broke in to the polytunnel under the cover of darkness and feasted on the Mizuna leaves!!! So until the next crop is ready we shall work with the mustard, radish leaf, spinach and chives. To be fair we did have our share of salad in the lunch time rolls but my personal favourite was the spontaneous rhubarb crumble which was rustled up one dreich morning…
We held off our outdoor planting due to the late frosts we’ve been having but finally the potatoes were put into their trenches. Tam spent a good two days sieving through one of the back raised beds to prepare it for the seed sowing of carrots and parsnips. Next door to that we have sown rainbow chard and white beetroot and a pleasant couple of mornings were spent devising and constructing different structures for our peas and mangetout to climb up over the coming summer months We have an abundance of seedlings for purchase… marigolds, peppers, cucumbers, courgettes, strawberry plants and the list goes on… To increase our covered planting space we fixed a door to our smaller and cooler second polytunnel, here we planted gourd, pumpkin and courgette and made space for some of our cooler loving herbs such as sage and thyme. Talking of which, the herb boxes we have been working on have proven very successful, so much so that we’ve had to concentrate our efforts on herb propagation and box construction at the end of the month to supply the demand!!
Phew… amidst the hustle and bustle of planting, the daily responsibilities of the garden are rapidly coming into our routine as watering and hardening off are both regularly appearing on the task board. Thanks to Helen Jackson who kindly donated a huge batch of garden bluebells to the site. As an investment for the future we spent many an afternoon potting them up. Thanks also to Erskine Garden Centre who have provided us with some pretty spring flowers which we can use to bring instant colour to the site!
Spring just wouldn’t be spring without the familiar and often reminiscent childhood sound of the buzz of the bumble bee.. From hibernation they buzzed mid April here in the gardens and they appear to just keep on coming… honey bees and buff tailed appear to be the most common, no butterflies yet but hopefully they will come fluttering by soon enough! We are registering for the bee walk with the Bumble Bee Conservation Trust (www.bumblebeeconservation.org/get-involved/surveys) and hope to get involved at the start of June in the ‘garden bioblitz’ (www.naturewatched.org/takingpartgbb) a scheme were we get to search through the ‘jungle’ of the garden to record what wildlife actually resides here (present veterans obviously excluded!!).
Enjoy the sunshine..