Full flush

The garden’s looking wonderfully spring-like at the moment. It’s teeming with flowers, bees – and weeds. Each day I try to do anything between 30 minutes and five hours in the greenhouse, the vegetable garden and weed-taming. I’m winning. Having applied lots of bark mulch last year there is a significant diminishing in the number of weeds. I am thrilled and I reckon that with another thick layer this year I should be able to get the most hated of jobs down to an absolute minimum. The soil beneath the mulch is noticeably more friable and in better condition. Given that I barely watered last year the border plants are looking in great nick. I’m particularly pleased with the irises that I bought at the Malvern Show last year.

 

 

At the moment I have just finished planting out four types of courgette along with aubergines and peppers. There are still lots of varieties of tomatoes to go into the potager beds as soon as they are big enough. I often rush them in only to find that they then stop growing as a result of the shock, so I’m going to wait longer this year. The rhubarb has been very good, but has now pretty much come to an end for this year. Spuds are in – all earlies. i’m hoping to pick some in the middle of June. Meanwhile we have salsify, rocket and broad beans to pick, along with all the herbs we need. Now’s particularly the moment for delicious mint tea with the young and tender leaves.

In the greenhouse the salvia, zinnia and shiso are coming on well and will soon be ready to plant out. The peppers and chillies have been dreadful – not germinating at all.

 

One real success has been the hornet trap. We were plagued with them last year and they did a lot of damage to our bees, but this year I made a couple of traps. They comprise a litre water bottle with two entry holes near the top, suspended on string. The contents are approximately 100ml dark beer, 100ml white wine and 100ml of strawberry syrup. The results have been good in terms of catching hornets and wasps, but I wish the moths didn’t like it too. I’m very happy to say that I have not been overly bothered by wasps in the greenhouse yet this year.

 

 

Here’s the potager plan for this year: