Sunday, April 15, 2007

Ok, so who turned the sun on?

It's flipping hot! I could even say 'it's FRIKKIN' hot!' I got so sunburnt today. First window washing, then car washing, then the whole afternoon in the allotment.

We spent most of yesterday morning there, before rushing back to catch the Grand Prix qualifying - husband is a fan.

Today I was there from 1 - 5 pm. The kids sat in their tent and read books, dug a bit in the dirt, fed grass to the chickens, got in the chicken run with the chickens ... in short... all those things kids get to do outside that they can't do in an apartment block. I love it!

Yesterday most of the time was taken up with chatting, having coffee with some other gardeners, getting some spare seedlings - spitskool, kohlrabi and kropsla. I planted them out yesterday but my visit today showed that the kropsla were very offended by the heat and today they were very wilted. I think one or two might die.

No such luck with the kohlrabi.

I'll let you in on a secret. I really don't like kohlrabi, but the lady who gave them to me was so nice, and I want to see what they look like when they grow and I had a spot to put them in so I took them. Ok, so the real reason I have them is because I just can't say no!

I planted out 12 Ostara strawberry plants yesterday and today I planted more sweet peas v. Old Spice - they finally came through after about four weeks! I now have Old Spice and Bijou on either side of a fence constructed of canes and chicken wire.

More sweet peas came out of their layers of damp kitchen paper today and went into trays. This variant is Candyman and it is a bright pink. I'll erect another screen for those in a different place. The sweet peas are for cutting. They don't seem that popular in the allotments here. I wonder why?

Other seed sowing happened today. The sweetcorn I had growing in pots was planted out and I also sowed seeds directly into the ground. I am making two windbreaks of corn, and my runner beans (Armstrong) will be left to clamber in the corn.

The runner beans and dwarf beans that I have here at home are becoming rather leggy but I'll keep them here a while longer. I'm still nervous that there might be a late frost.

I planted out two trays of Salad Bowl lettuce and I'm really pleased with the patterns I've made. I alternated rows of red and green lettuce - very pretty! The other three plants that were over went into the strawberry bed. They should be cut before the strawberries spread to fill the bed.

I also planted two more rows of carrots. I'm getting into this 'potager' look and sowing rows of plants in pretty patterns. The carrots form two sides of a square and the sweetcorn the other two. Hopefully the corn will shade the middle of the square so that I can plant things that are not that tolerant of heat in the middle.

My makeshift cover from chicken wire for the cauliflowers has worked really well, no more ducks eating them, but the peas are still being eaten by a mystery beast. It just nibbles the edges of the leaves? Bit like a caterpillar chomping, but I can't see any?

Spinach is through, need transplanting, carrots are through and need thinning, lettuces are through and ready to transplant. The apple tree is blossoming!

At home I planted chives; lemon basil; basil minette; gardener's delight, tigerella and costaluto florentino tomatoes (heirloom beef steak tomato) in trays.

I think I need to stop with the tomatoes now as each of those trays will give me 6 plants and I already have 18 cherry tomato plants already potted up.

Tomato addiction, anyone?

Oh, I want a courgette plant, but this year I will be lazy and buy one (and some aubergines) from the garden centre rather than starting my own from seed.

The flowers I planted in trays last weekend are through and I have to transplant them to modules.

I think it was a pretty successful weekend's gardening but I just wish it would rain! It hasn't rained for weeks now. The gardeners at the allotment allayed my fears of the canal running out of water. Apparently it has never happened before, except one year when there was a fault further up, so my plants won't die from lack of water.

It was so hot that the ponies were in the sloot (canal)!

I wanted to join them.

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