Saturday, 28 April 2012

So it goes

In case you've been hiding a stone and hadn't noticed, April has turned out to cool and wet - twice the average rainfall and colder than March. Best to keep off the soil when it's this sodden so it's just as well  that there's plenty of pricking out and potting on to be getting on with in the potting shed. And the view isn't bad either.

Potting on

How it's done, just in case you're new to all this.

In the potting shed I get together the seedlings from the greenhouse to be potted on - brassicas in this case - and 9cm pots loosely filled with sieved multi-purpose compost:

I tip the module strip on it's side and gently ease out a seedling - it's easier to do this if the tray has been left unwatered for the previous 24 hours. Hopefully the seedling will have a nicely developed root system:

I make a hole with my finger in the compost... the seedling in the hole, firming the compost around it and giving the pot a couple of taps on the bench to level the compost, which should be about 1cm below the rim of the pot to allow for watering:

Plants placed back in the greenhouse to grow on for a couple of weeks. They'll then go into the coldframe to harden off before being planted out.

Here's some I did earlier - cabbage plants in the coldframe nearly ready for planting out:

Sunday, 15 April 2012


First sightings this year of the orange tip and speckled wood:

Male orange tip feeding on honesty in the garden

Underwings of the orange tip

Speckled wood basking on a privet hedge out on the site

Monday, 9 April 2012

The brief return of winter

Last Wednesday on the plot - the blossoming plum tree looking surprised to be surrounded by snow:

The temperature was 2 degrees - compared with 22 the previous week. Fortunately the snow didn't last long and I was able to get the new potatoes in on the traditional planting day of good friday. Since then we've had some useful rain and the climate is at least back in line with the calender. Sunshine and showers forecast for the week ahead.

Out in the country

Darley and Nutwood nature reserve on a cool and cloudy day so no sign of any butterflies - although the birds were singing and I saw the odd bumble bee.

Wild garlic down by the river:

A mist of bright green on the hawthorn:

Early bluebells:

Farmland and hedgerows around Morely:

Ancient mound at the highest point:

And an old oak colouring up:

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Keep calm and carry on

Hopefully we've seen the last of the fraudulant summer, we can do without any more of that. The odd day of temperatures in the seventies in March hasn't been unusual in recent years but a week of it is right out of order. No rain of course, drought orders in the east and south east and threatened here in the east midlands. If this isn't global warming then I don't know what is.

On the plus side it's nice to see the trees greening up and the bees and blossom and it should be a good year for the butterflies.

Eating purple sprouting brocolli, carrots, scorenza and plenty of greens. I've planted out the first of the peas and sown another row direct. There's seedlings on the move in the greenhouse and the potatoes will be going in next weekend. All we need now is some rain.


The sudden high temperatures in March forced the spring cabbage to bolt and start going to seed:

Luckily I've plenty of perennial broccoli:

And one surviving spinach plant:

And Chinese mustard:

Hawthorn shoots make a tasty nibble too:

Sowing peas

Out in the country

Sinfin Moor nature reserve - lots of signs of spring - trees greening up and plenty of butterflies - small tortoiseshells, peacocks and commas.