End of April update

sawfly larvae
On the 26th April, spotted the first wave of the gooseberry sawfly larvae. One stem had been almost stripped. There were a few critters on the currants too. Had a good squishing session and became green-fingered. The picture below I think is a sawfly.
Is this a sawfly?

Slugs/snails and poor seed germination have led to the failure of several things sown in the vegetable box – Carrots Early Scarlet Horn, Paris Market, Onion Purplette and Chicory Grumolo Rossa which were sown on 12th March. The carrots and chicory have been resown on 28th April. Onion Purplette resown yesterday. The spring onion Toga was doing so well until the slugs/snails munched the tops off. No more seed for that variety. Parsnip Turga sown in the other veg box last month haven’t germinated yet, but have sown another square foot of them on the 28th April. To keep these company, I sowed some Amsterdam Forcing carrots yesterday.
tomato flower
Saturday 28th was such a beautiful day. Decided to move the tomatoes from the windowsill to the greenhouse via repotting. So many tomatoes. One was even in flower! Planted out the heritage Prince of Prussia peas that were started in paper pots. Found some slugs hiding between paper pots at the bottom, cheeky sods.
Incy wincy little spiders
A chervil plant I put on the vegetable box to keep out of the way ended up being planted in that spot because a group of “baby” spiders had formed a ball between the chervil and box edge.
spiders
Sunday was another beautiful day. Early morning, started some more seeds off – Cavalier peas and Bunyards Exhibition broad beans in guttering. I noticed on a visit to a garden centre on Saturday for lunch that the people behind rootrainers have another system that resembles short pieces of guttering to sow things in then slide out for planting. A load of Horsehead French Beans were started out in paper pots, 15 Strawberry Popcorn sweetcorn in modules, 3 seeds each of Uchiki Kuri squash, Crystal Lemon cucumber and Albarrellodi Sarzana courgette, and one pot each of the kale Ragged Jack and sorrel Shchavel from the HSL.

Flowers sown: Tagetes lucida, French Marigold Instant Mixed, Tagetes Lemon Gem,  French Marigold Kobold Mix F1, and African Marigold Sunspot mixed. Echium Little Bells Mix, Aqualegia McKana’s Giant, Busy Lizzie (from Lidl), Cleome  Colour Fountains and Balsam Tom Thumb Mixed.  

OH planted some of the flowers sown earlier into the front garden – Love in  a Mist, mystery flowers (he sowed but didn’t label), his shop-bought lobelia plugs & verbenas. Earlier this month, gladioli were planted and most have come through.

Allotment-wise, the overwintered broad beans have started to set pod. The spring sown peas and beans there seem to be surviving the munching of those weevils. Damage looks significant when the plants are just mere seedlings, but they seem to have come through the worst.

First earlies were earthed up. In the process, 3 spuds were uncovered from Duke of York. We were tempted to dig one of the plants up, but will leave a few days/maybe a week for first harvest?

The allotment is looking good. Raised beds practically all finished, woodchip shavings path, no more stepping into beds (mainly me) and a sandpit to keep small person occupied. Only thing that doesn’t look that great is the overwintered red onions, they look a bit small and feeble. The garlic looks strong though, though there is some rust on the leaves. The rhubarb growing again nicely after being forced, the leaves green now. The lettuces look fabulous. Will be going to the allotment later, so pictures to follow in next post.

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Water butt full

Within 48 hours of rain start, the water butt is full – 100 litres +. I even filled a couple of 2-litre bottles in between showers, but shame I didn’t have more water storage vessels. The ground certainly needed the rain.

I have entered the March competition for photos taken that month on the A4A messageboard. Voting has already started. I have already received at least one vote (and I didn’t vote for myself). I hope this month, voting doesn’t run into difficulties like last month.

Voting for March Competition

Rain

Yesterday we had rain, and today we have rain. Last night, I went out for a 30 minute slug/snail hunt – 270 dealt with. Some of the slugs/snails looked like they were feasting on some of their dead comrades. I might go out this morning when it stops raining.

The rain should be filling up my water butt which was empty (well, had still some water just below the tap outlet).

I forgot to mention about the broad beans down the plot – although they’ve been in flower for ages, I see no sign of bean pods. I wonder then if the lack of rain (although we have watered) was a cause.

Harvesting cont’d. and planting

While out an about today, we popped into a farm shop that grows its own. They had 300g of asparagus on sale for £3.29, rhubarb £1.99/kg and pathetic purple sprouting broccoli at £2.20/kg. We harvested about 300g asparagus, 700g rhubarb and about a pound of psb (the latter not weighed).

My chervil has gone to flower, so I thought I’d chop it and freeze it in ice-cube trays. Started more chervil today, and my son wanted chives (he sowed them). Also started more basil – lettuce leaved. Potted on sweet and chilli peppers, aubergines and parsley.

Yesterday down the plot, planted out the last lot of potatoes – 6 each of the sarpos Mira and Axona, 3 Golden Wonder, 3 Puritan and 3 Ulster Sceptre (oops, a first early but should still be ok).

Planted out brassicas yesterday – grr, I hate those cabbage root fly collars as I tried to be gentle as possible and the one stem broke trying to negotiate the slit in the collar. Each brassica had 4 seeds sown but not all germinated/survived slugs. In total, 2 Kalibos cabbage, 1 Waltham calabrese, 1 Decathlon calabrese, 4 Seven Hills brussels, 1 Cuor Di Bue cabbage, 2 Marner Storing Red cabbage, 2 Corvet calabrese and 2 Darkmar brussels were planted out.

With the rain today, have spent 10 mins outside in the garden – 44 slugs/snails dealt with. Going out later for a hunting session.

Harvesting already

On Sunday last, we harvested some asparagus. Due to raised beds being built, the asparagus was dug up – yes, I know it doesn’t like to be disturbed. We were getting fed up with it – not having a harvest from it last year, and now in its fifth year, we thought – is it worth it. Even before we noticed the shoots, we were looking at freeing up the space it was taking up. Shoots were spotted after Easter, but our minds were made up. We’ve relocated the crowns – hope we can get something out of them this season before using the space for something else. Also, last week, we harvested some purple sprouting broccoli. The broccoli and asparagus went into a soup and was served with it apart from a bread-machine herb loaf.
bread, broccoli & asparagus

Yesterday, as well as more broccoli, we harvested the blanched rhubarb. It is destined for an oaty crumble thing.
rhubarb harvest

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