Well, as I sit here in a jumper and jeans in front of the log fire, its hard to believe this time last week we were enjoying unseasonably warm temperatures more akin to summer days.
My garden is glad of the rain, the water butts are topped up and it does mean I'm spared the chore of watering new plants for a little while.
I hope you have all been keeping busy and enjoying your gardens more than ever.
Thanks to generous villagers, I have recycled old pallets into raised vegetable beds and created my own little allotment space no more than 8ft x 8.ft .
The garden here at the Old Nursery sits on a grassed over multitude of sins. Just a couple of inches underneath I discovered old concrete and rubble from when the place was renovated in 2010, including the old fish ponds. It has been a labour of love digging out and removing huge blocks of concrete and bricks , replacing areas with topsoil and manure in order to create some interest and colour by planting shrubs etc.
I tried unsuccessfully to grow fruit and vegetables in the first year, the ground was just too poor, full of hardcore, weeds and brambles.
So, you could say, my new veggie boxes are a welcome addition, and it will be interesting to watch their progress over the coming weeks. I've put in a mixture of seedlings from the greenhouse, and sown directly, in the hope I will get produce phased over a longer period. We love carrots but I didn't want them all ready in the same week !
I've also been busy with getting summer bedding ready.
The warmer days have meant watering all those little pots regularly, except when I've been feeling lazy, and pointed the hosepipe into the green house and sprayed the whole lot in one go !
Thanks to everyone who responded to my shout out for pots, its really has been a great help , particularly for the spare veggie plants.
I will be putting them out for sale this weekend, its earlier than planned as they haven't been hardened off, and perhaps still a bit too cool for them at night, but so many people have asked, it feels like the right thing to do. As long as you protect them from frost, they should thrive OK.
Please check out my post on Facebook.
All 50p each pot, or 10 for £4.50
With your support, I'm hoping to split any profit between the village hall, the Burbage foodbank and the NHS this time.
Ok, so what should we be doing in May ?
If you haven't done so already, there's still time to sow beans, salads and sweetcorn outdoors.
Lift & dry bulbs to store until replanting in autumn, deadhead daffs just below the seed pod and wait for foliage to die off naturally.
Treat your lawn to a good feed and mow regularly
Feeling creative ? How about making a herb garden or an alpine trough.
Keep weeds down by mulching.
Sow hardy annuals
Thin vegetable seedlings
Support tall growing border plants and climbers.
With a little bit of rain, the plants will shoot up quickly before you know it.
Take care everyone
All of a sudden, it feels like there’s plenty to do in the garden again. With blossom on the trees and sunshine to lift our spirits, it really kickstarts the growing season.
April is all about sowing and the dreaded weed control.
Sow sow sow! - whether its annual flowers, vegetables or herbs and salads, now is the time to get them started in the greenhouse. Jack Frost can reappear at any time so it’s probably best to wait until end May before planting out, or if sowing directly outside, protecting young seedlings under cloches or fleece.
Make the most of the sunshine by giving your greenhouse a good clean to maximise light. Keep seed trays and pots moist to encourage germination, and on warm days, leave the greenhouse door open.
Plant or pot on hardwood cuttings taken last year.
Avoid fungal diseases developing on new plants by watering from below and protect seedlings and new shoots from slugs and snails.
Plant potatoes and other veg. I have a number of seedlings on the go which will be left out on the front wall for anyone who wants some for free. When they are ready, I will post it on The Burbage Facebook page.
Outside – repair patches in the lawn, feed trees, hedges and shrubs with compost or well-rotted manure. Feed hungry shrubs and roses, and keep container plants well-watered.
Prepare beds for growing season by digging in a good layer of compost or well-rotted manure. You can also work in a general fertiliser e.g. chicken manure pellets, or fish, blood and bone.
General – dead head daffodils and tulips, leaving foliage to die back naturally. Lift & divide perennials to create new plants. Direct sow wildflower seed mixture, and if you can, leave a patch of unmown grass to add a bit of biodiversity to your garden. Butterflies like nothing better than laying eggs in flowering grasses.
Prune hydrangeas back to the old wood, to a healthy shoot. Tie in climbers.
Deal with weeds as soon as you see them, mulching will help. Apart from dandelions which can be dug out fairly easily, my absolute arch enemy is ground elder, it gets everywhere and seems an impossible task to dig out all the roots. My heart drops every time I spot a new shoot appearing.
I’ve read that Mexican marigolds are a natural weed killer, with a mutual dislike for ground elder, so I’ve ordered myself some seeds and will let you know if it works.
Watch out for aphids, wipe off. My mum swears by spraying water with a little washing up liquid mixed in. It won’t do any harm to try, but when we had an infestation of woolly aphids in the beech hedging last year, I didn’t notice any difference. On a smaller area, perhaps it would be more successful, e.g roses.
On my daily walks with the dogs around the village, I’ve seen some beautiful displays of spring colour, thank you for making our village such a beautiful place to be.
Thanks also for your support in purchasing the bedding plants – I’m proud to say, your contribution to the Village Hall has been gratefully received and enabled the committee to buy a chiller cabinet. This is fantastic news. Please come back and buy summer bedding when it is ready, your support is appreciated.
Take care of yourselves, keep busy, and above all, do stay safe,
Tracey @ The Old Nursery