I thought I would start by mentioning that my usual monthly blog post which covers ‘What to do in the kitchen garden in April’ can be found here if anyone is interested. It covers what weather to expect in a typical April, which vegetables and salads to harvest, which seeds to sow and what to plant and also jobs that need to be carried out this month.
So it’s well worth a read to make sure you haven’t missed anything.
Last weekend we began chopping down the conifer on the left hand side of the photograph above. This was a small conifer I bought approximately 14 years ago when it was about 30cm high. The label said it was a slow growing conifer that should grow no more than a meter high!
Obviously I wasn’t expecting it to grow as tall as it did and it was totally unsuitable for the place I had planted it in…. I had to tie the tree to our wall to stop it leaning over, as there wasn’t enough soil for the roots to keep it stable.
So we spent a happy morning chopping it down and poor Mr Thrift nearly wore himself out sawing the trunk across:
But we eventually managed it and I rebuilt part of the dry stone wall that the previous owner of the house built and I replaced some of the compost.
I have decided this year to plant some sweetpeas to climb up the wall and I will be planting a few wild flower seeds underneath.
It’s been a real wet and windy week here in the Midlands and all the rain reminded me that I still hadn’t set up my two water butts that I brought from my old allotments.
I decided to catch the water from my house with the first water butt and so I bought a ‘Rain water diverter’ to fix onto my drainpipe.
I have got to admit I have never done anything like this before, but I thought I would have a go. Thankfully it wasn’t too difficult and I managed it on my own.
I tested it to make sure it worked by asking my daughter to pour water out of her bedroom window into the drainpipe (not very technical) and I am pleased to say it worked.
The rain water diverter should channel rain water into the waterbutt until it’s full and then it will go down the drain as normal. The plan is that I will add another waterbutt at this stage though.
It rained the following night and it did capture some of the rain and I was very proud until the morning when I noticed that the seal around the tap was now leaking….I must have caused some damage transporting the water butt from my allotment back home.
I had to empty the water butt again to repair the seal and it will now take a couple of days to dry so I am still unable to use the waterbutt.
Next week I am hoping to set up my second water butt to capture the water from my greenhouse.
This week I tried desparately to plant my onions and garlic which I started off at the beginning of March in my cold greenhouse (I was a bit late planting my garlic, but I thought I may as well give it a go). Every time I started to plant them, it rained so I had to stop. Finally we had a lovely day yesterday and I managed to complete planting them.
Both the onions and garlic had grown well in my newspaper pots and I had prepared the grown where I planted them a couple of weeks earlier by raking in some blood, fish and bone and covering the area with clear plastic to warm the soil up.
I decided to plant the onions 10cm apart and each of the rows just 10cm apart too (usually I plant each row 30cm apart). If you plant onions closer together you will get smaller onions, but there is method behind my madness……as my kitchen garden is so small, I have decided to harvest the rows in between and eat the onions when they are ‘spring onion’ size in salads etc.
I have planted 66 onions altogether and I am hoping that this way I will have more to harvest over a longer period and the remaining onions can then grow to a good size (this is the plan…I hope it works).
I also made two ridges using my draw hoe and planted the garlic into the ridges. Garlic tends to rot in very wet soil and I was very conscious of how wet the soil in my garden was.
(I am keeping my fingers crossed that I have got away with planting my garlic so late):
On the ground next to my garlic I have used some old grocery boxes (that I brought home from my allotment), to warm the soil ready to sow some beetroot seeds next week. The boxes are great as it’s easy to rest glass on top of them and they have a small area just under the glass which lets the air circulate too:
Dispite all the wind this week, my broadbeans seem to be doing well, though I do still need to provide some support for them, to stop them from falling over when they are bigger.
At the moment they are still looking quite perfect and I am not used to this, as usually at this time of year on my old allotment, I would always see the tell tale sign of the ‘pea and bean weevil’….. maybe because I am away from the allotment I may not suffer so much?
You can see in the photograph below, that my broadbeans last year had little notches in the edges of the leaves. This is the work of the ‘Pea and Bean weevil’.
The adults are beetles that are approximately 4-5mm long, but they are very hard to find as they drop to the ground when they are disturbed. Their larvea eat the root nodules of the plant in the soil.
I have never yet lost any plants due to the Pea and bean weevil as most broad beans seem to tolerate the damage, but in theory a bad attack could kill your plants. I make sure that when I overwinter my plants, they are healthy by giving them a feed in the Spring with a general purpose fertiliser (I use blood, fish and bone) and if the weather is dry then I water them. This way I ensure my plants can cope with an attack without the need to use chemical sprays.
Elsewhere in my kitchen garden my autumn raspberries are now starting to grow. I am very relieved as the soil was very cold and wet when I brought them home from my allotment:
My chives will soon be ready to pick if them keep growing at this speed:
And the daffodills that I planted a few weeks ago are still producing a lovely display, together with a pot of bulbs that I planted two years ago:
So all in all the new kitchen garden is starting to come to life.
At home this week:
This week I have been making my laundry liquid again. I get a real buzz when I think about how much money I have saved by using it over the last few years and it is so quick to make.
You can find the recipe for laundry liquid here.
I also made some more dishwasher liquid using soapnuts, as this also saves money and washes our pots and pans well. Again it is quick and easy to make.
You can see how I make the dishwasher liquid here if you are interested.
So all in all it’s been another busy week and I am looking forward to a rest over the Easter holiday….but I’m not very good at sitting still when there is so much to do.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog today, I will be back next Friday as usual.
Have a great Easter and a good week!