Frosty Spring

Thursday 14 March 2013

This week we had some really hard frosts. Perfect timing for my peas which are not sprouted yet… hoping they survived. The rhubarb took a beating.

Milder temperatures returned today with just a bit of rain. I planted some red onion sets, put some willow in that had been potted, and installed rhubarb and strawberries that had been salvaged from another plot. I also planted Gladiolus bulbs in between my raspberries, we’ll see how that works out. I’m hoping to go back tomorrow and get some more lettuce, potatoes and onions in.

I now have four beds with the flattened PVC conduit hoops. The peas are bird netted, and I have purchased insect netting for the broccoli, carrots and cabbage. The insect netting needs sewn together to be wide enough, I cut the pieces today and Kayla will sew it up length-wise. I still need to devise a net high enough for my raspberries, I think I will try to find some good metal poles, then secure the same hoops to the poles so that they make a higher net.

Friday 15 March 2013

Today Kayla sewed the net and it worked perfectly! A little long (should be about 9.6 meters) but the width of two 1.2 meter nets was just right. It is now up over my soon-to-be broccoli, carrot and cabbage bed.

I met another neighbor – John, who also works at Microsoft. He was sorting out a strawberry bed so I may be able to get some plants from him.

I planted more onions – about 80 white onion sets next to the red ones I planted earlier. I also planted four-fifth’s of a box with lettuce. I tried not to sow too thickly, letting just a few seeds fall every six inches or so. That bed has been covered by my plastic perforated cover all week, so it was relatively dry and warm. I didn’t finish the package and still have another variety of lettuce that I will have to interplant in other spots if I use it this year. I am out of white onions but have about half a bag of red left.

This weekend I plan to put in my potatoes, green onions (“salad onions” here), and carrots. I need to start thinking about slugs as well, I haven’t seen any big ones but lots of little ones and I’m sure they’re already out and about. I found a nice big green caterpillar today that was amazingly tough even trying to scrape it dead with a rock… hope not to see too many more of those!

The seed trays are all going full bore, but quite leggy. The marigolds are the only tray that failed to sprout well, probably 60%. The rest mostly came up and the lettuce are on their first true leaves now. They are spindly so I’m putting more dirt around them, not sure if they will transplant well but it’s worth the experiment.

No sign yet on the plot of either sweet peas or the mangetout peas. If they do come up I’ll need to trap for slugs as I have read they are very attractive to them.

Saturday 16 March 2013

Today I quickly put in two sections of potatoes. The south rows in each section were Rooster, the north rows were Sarpo Mira. One batch went into a mounded bed, the other is a raised bed. It will be interesting to contrast the varieties as well as the different bed designs.

The weather has been warmer in the day though still quite cool at night. We had one shower yesterday but it was dry all day today. Should be good growing weather for the cool crops and hoping to see progress with the peas soon.

I’m realizing just how little space I have, even with two allotments. I’ve already taken up twice as much space for potatoes as I’d planned, and the lettuce took a full bed instead of half. I’m beginning to think I may need to scrap the sweetcorn in order to fit other items that I prefer, like beans and squash.

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