Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Round 1 ends?

   Over the last week the weather had turned from warm and sunny to wet and windy. The  ground once again is saturated so guess what? Yes, the  grass is growing fast! The difference is the ambient temperature. Night time temperatures are well above freezing and there has not been a frost for a while now. I fear I am going to get to eat those words. Frost can be expected in my area up to the middle of May. With the mild winter and early spring this year I have taken a chance and I have a lot of produce outside of the poly tunnel in the ground growing well. The long range weather forecast is for the mild weather to continue. Two weeks to go!
   I have transplanted Evesham Special Brussels Sprouts to a well prepared outside bed. I am determined this year to grow some decent sprouts and I have made an effort to use the best brassica growing patch in the garden. These two beds have produced very good cabbage in the past. So, forked, weeded, limed, compacted, planted and covered over to protect them from the chickens the first lot of sprouts and summer cabbage has been planted out and are well established. The next lot of sprouts are about ready to go out. Also I am again trying to grow Asturian tree cabbage and I have planted out  a number of plants. The Champion of England peas mostly gathered from last years sowing have germinated and are under way. Oskar "so called dwarf" peas are well established but no flowers yet. Sanquire beetroot,  grown in modules, have been transplanted and the wet weather has helped to establish them. Nantes 4 carrot have germinated and I am counting the days down to sowing the next row. Potatoes, potatoes, potatoes. I have a lot of potatoes in this year and they too area showing their heads. So far I have kept them covered up but they are beginning to get too big so will soon have to take their chances. Early sown lettuce has been a great success in the poly tunnel and the tomb (French glass house type cover for graves) and a succession sowing has been made. My Tender and True and Guernsey parsnips are well established and I have thinned the rows. Again the recent rain is helping. The field beans are now over five feet tall and full of flowers and buzzy bees. I am hopeful for a large crop. The rain has also helped my onion seedlings to establish themselves just as I was getting concerned about them needing to be watered. I am cutting asparagus regularly although not in large quantities. I have transplanted some 147 tomato plants to outside the poly tunnel beds (Roma and Ethel Watkins Best) and my fingers are crossed. End of round 1?
 In the poly tunnel more space is coming free as the spring cabbage is eaten and lettuce is consumed. I  have tomatoes to plant out in the poly tunnel and they will be cherry types. Several varieties of basil have germinated and I have foiled a slug attack!
   Round 2 will be the sowing of the more tender plants (melons, cucumber, squash, courgettes and pumpkins).
   I could not resist it and I have dug another bed. This time a round one at the top of two rectangle beds. This new bed will be planted with vegetables. Well, at least this year.
   In the chicken world we have purchased some more hens - a Cuckoo de Renne, Rhode Island Red and a replacement Limousin. This brings are laying hen total to thirteen which is as many as we can really have in our chicken shed. Also purchased some hens for eating.The sheep have now finished lambing and we have five healthy lambs, three ewes and two rams. Next job with them will be to use the new electric shears!

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