Sunday, 22 April 2012

Mixed emotions

It has been an exceedingly changeable month and it feels like it will never end, all this spring/winter/spring/winter weather. And I doubt I'm alone in wishing it would just get warm already.

Last week the raised beds were frozen solid and covered in snow.

Unbelievably, the first batch of radishes are growing well.
Snow drifts on my pea protection.
And yet yesterday the soil was lovely and warm, and a pleasure to dig about in with my bare hands.

As I said, changeable to say the least. And our moods, us gardeners, are greatly determined by the weather. This month it has felt like I've been riding an emotional roller coaster.

So tired was I of not being able to get on with my spring planting, that I threw caution to the wind and starting planting out lettuce seedlings.

Wonderful warm soil for my lettuce babies. You may notice that I'm
going for a pretty potager look this year, with patterns & flowers.

I stole the seedlings from my cut & come again patch in the
greenhouse (bottom right hand side) as there were plenty spare.
While on the subject of the greenhouse, I have to show you a close-up of these Spring Green tulips at the back of the greenhouse:

So elegant.
Exquisite Spring Green tulips.
They really bring a heartfelt smile to my face. I keep going back into the greenhouse to have another look at them...

As I said, my mood has been as changeable as the weather.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Taking a closer look

I surfed into this blog the other day, via Mark's blog and ever since then I've been looking at the little details around the garden just that little more closely...

Friday, 13 April 2012

A very different spring greenhouse

I'm usually busy preparing the greenhouse for tomatoes, chillies and cucumbers at this time of year; scrubbing the walls, switching out the old soil, laying the watering system etc.

This year though things are a little different.

As I've mentioned before, I made the most of a mild autumn/winter and bought loads of cheap tulip bulbs that were on sale, some of which I planted in the greenhouse. Just for fun. :)

I even planted some funky-ish patterns...

And while waiting for them to flower, I also chucked a few salad seeds about for some early harvests.

'Funky' tulip pattern, with lots of rocket in the foreground

Spinach/lettuce/tulip checkerboard

Spinach (for use as 'baby' in salads)

Mixed cut 'n' come again lettuce

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Marigold mania!

I read somewhere that marigolds (tagetes) are great partner plants for the kitchen garden, helping prevent things like carrot fly and greenfly. :D As I've decided to have a little more colour around me greens this year, they sounded ideal.

After emptying the best part of a packet into a seed tray, I usually only expect half of them to germinate.

That was not the case this time!!

Blimey what a lot of marigolds we're going to have this year...

Getting individual homes, which took aaaaaaages...

Typical spring windowsill in our house.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Crazy cover-up

I didn't actually want to advertise this mess, but I really feel I must share this with you - my spooky mad make-shift plant protection!!

After last year's pea/bean/mange tout epic fail the game was on to do it right this year. So. I erected a sturdy bean wall:

Grew plenty of seedlings indoors:

Started planting them out when it was nice and warm...

...and then the Swedish 'aprilväder' kicked in...

hard frosts...
howling winds...

...and pouring rain.
I just couldn't bear the thought of all those tender little green twigs being battered about by the cruel Swedish spring weather. Nor could I be bothered to rush about twice a day covering up each individual little seedling. So this is what they ended up with. A spooky wonky tent-like creation. o.O

But they do seem to be happy with their new home.

Warm, dry and calm = happy plants.

Monday, 9 April 2012

First chilli?

To my utter delight, this gorgeous little Chilhuacle c.annum flower opened over the Easter weekend.

It's now been pollinated (with a toothbrush :) because I couldn't find the little make-up brush I usually use) and hopefully it'll start growing into a yummy big fat dark brown chilli.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Happy Easter!

Despite all this cold weather, there is still plenty of colour around.

A first - Amaryllis at Easter!

All Eastered up for the in-laws' visit.

Note the balloon shape in the background, an attempt
to protect the magnolia from what is known in Sweden
as 'aprilväder' (typical April weather).


Monday, 2 April 2012

Inspired by Alys Fowler

Last year I bought a much longed for American blueberry bush, a 'northblue'.

Unfortunately, probably due to a rainy summer and a shady location, the harvest was non-existent...

However, after watching The Edible Garden the other day in which Alys Fowler advised on planting two bushes, regardless of whether they are self-fertile, for a "bumper harvest" :) I rushed off to the garden centre (again).

In the foreground on the left is my new, 'gold taube'. Behind it on the
right is last year's 'northblue', which has been relocated to a sunnier spot.
So I'm really looking forward to lots of big fat juicy blueberries this year! :D

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Hard frost last night

I just don't learn do I...

I knew it was going to be cold last night, I'd even wrapped up all my hydrangeas and herbs in nice thick fleece, and yet when I saw that it wasn't going to snow after all last night, I managed to convinced myself I could start planting stuff out... I just couldn't wait.

Yesterday - wonderful warm soil for my mange tout babies...

Giving them a good water.
It was quite windy yesterday so I gave them a little bit of protection with a couple of panes of glass from broken lanterns. That may have helped protect them from the frost, 'cause luckily they survived the night. Phew...

Today - the soil is frozen solid in the foreground, where I've
planted & heavily watered some anemone bulbs. Doh!
It was about -5oC when I woke up at 7.30. This ice is
too thick to break with just my hand...