This week we spent time getting the garden in order before our time away working in each other’s gardens next week followed by the Half Term break.
We had a brief re-cap on the sowing of hardy annuals and we were pleased to learn that some of the seeds sown last week have already germinated. Bridge had carried out a small experiment and put some of the seed modules on the heat and some of them off the heat. The ones off the heat germinated first, namely the calendulars. Bridge explained that it is preferable to sow hardy annuals now as opposed to next spring as they will be stronger with more developed root systems. They also have a tendency to flower earlier if sown in the autumn.
When two sets of leaves have appeared, the seedlings will need to be transferred into FP7’s. This will prevent them from becoming too spindly and leggy. (If planted in large pots to begin with, there is a risk of the seedlings rotting off and so modules are the perfect size in which to sow first of all).
One of the main activities in the garden this week involved sowing onion sets directly into the garden. In order to deter squirrels and birds, string was stretched across in a rectangle from one end of the onion rows to another. It was decided not to cover the onion sets with a cloche this year and so we will see how the onions get on.
Two varieties of onion were planted:
These long-necked bulbs have dark skin and very white flesh. They are said to have a good resistance to bolting and will be harvested in late May – June.
These have shiny red skins and are semi-globe shaped. Their flesh is crisp with a slight pink tinge and they will be harvested in June. Recommended uses are for salad and stir fries.
Other vegetables sown this week were dwarf broad beans, including:
Broad Bean ‘De Monica’
Broad Bean ‘The Sutton’ (Ideal for small gardens and containers).
The broad beans will be grown under cloches and as they grow will need to be protected from the wind. They will need regular watering, particularly as the flowers begin to set. It is advisable to pinch out the first set of flowers to encourage further flowers/pods and to deter blackfly.
Peas can also be sown now, eg. Pea ‘Meteor’.
This is a dwarf variety which is great for growing in containers and in exposed areas. In the garden we sow them in half gutters and cover them with holly stems to deter mice. Some people soak their pea pods in a small amount of liquid seaweed before planting as this has also been found to deter mice.
Both broad beans and peas are hardy annuals.
Other activities in the garden this week included:
- Bulb sorting in readiness for planting over the next few weeks.
- Planting of alliums, apricot foxgloves and sweet williams (‘Sooty’) in Lil’s Bed.
Before planting the bulbs we forked over and spread compost over the bed.
- We continued to sort out and clear the herbaceous border in readiness for new planting over the next few weeks.
- Planting Narcissus ‘Minnow’and Russian Sage under the arches.
- Pruning the olive tree into more of a lollipop shape.
Red hot pokers and Crocosmia ‘Harlequin’ were planted underneath.
- Pruning the rambling rose and honeysuckle.
- Pruning the lonicera in the top garden.
- Planting out the wall flowers.
- Tidying the greenhouse.