Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Spring Gardening - it's a busy time of year

Spring Gardening - Ornamentals

The Woodland Garden brings me so much joy in Spring. It's always been the main attraction at this time of year. Being at the front of the house, it welcomes me home from a tough day at work, or sends me out into the world with a smile on my face.

I bulked out my tulip collection quite a bit last autumn, keeping purple and whites, but adding pink and extending the season with different varieties

The Wood Anemones (Anemone nemorosa) are really starting to spread under the trees. I love the way they bask in the spring sunshine. Last autumn I felt the two clumps I had were big enough to start dividing, so with a trowel I took small sections off the outsides and planted them straight out in their new positions. I kept my fingers crossed for them all winter, and was delighted a few weeks ago to see how well they had settled in.

If you look closely, you'll also see the ridiculous number of sycamore seedlings I have to weed out - grump grump grump :(

Speaking of Anemones, the first of my Anemone coronaria (Garden Anemone) have come into bloom this week. They look electric here against the lime green leaves of the Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia).

Late last summer I dug up my bearded irises, as the clumps were getting huge and needed invigorating. I broke off all the old or diseased rhizomes, trimmed down the leaves to approximately 10cm and potted the healthy rhizomes up into individual pots. These have been stored in the greenhouse over winter, and once I started to see green growth, I cut off all the old dead leaves and began watering them. This has worked really well, and I've just started planting them back out into the Woodland Garden in full sun.

In the greenhouse, spring sown Sweet Peas are growing well, they have been pinched out to encourage strong stocky growth, and have been potted once once already.

Spring Gardening - Edibles

There's lots going on in the edibles department too.

I've learnt over the 7 or 8 years I've worked my garden that there is absolutely no point direct sowing seeds in it. Early in the year they don't get enough heat or light, and the slugs are very active. The death rate is too high. I'm far better off sowing into modules or pots, and getting things growing well in the greenhouse or on the kitchen windowsill. Then I can plant out strong healthy plants which can withstand the slugs better, plus the weather and soil will be a little warmer.
greenhouse bench April broad beans leeks iris peppers aubergine onion sets
Greenhouse bench - mid-April 2017
Photo by Pumpkin Becki

I sowed my first batch of Broad Beans (var. De Monica) early last month. They've been potted on once into 15cm square pots, and yesterday I planted them out into the square foot beds. In the meantime I've also sown some The Sutton and Masterpiece Green Longpod, which are just showing their heads above soil.

I apply the same system to onion sets as well. For me it's more reliable to pop sets into modules, let them get growing and then plant them out once they have formed 10-15cm long leaves.

I'm not having much luck with peas so far, they just won't germinate, but then lots of my seeds are very old, so I may have to start again with new seed.

I bought some parsnip plug plants, which went out into the square foot beds, but I will also sow some seeds of my own.

Leeks germinated well and are already 6-7cm tall.

I have pricked out my young chilli plants and put them next to my tomato seedlings on the kitchen window sill.

I have bought some young tomato plants as well, as an insurance policy, two orange sweet pepper (capsicum) plants, and a grafted aubergine plant. I have had great success with grafted aubergines for the last two years, so it was a no-brainer when I spotted one at B&Q last night.

I've put all these beauties on the bench in the greenhouse to grow on a bit.
Hope your season is going well too, let me know in the comments xx

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