Friday, 11 April 2008

Taking Chances!

Yesterday I spent most of the day pottering in the potager. I decided to take the chance on planting out a few of the hardier plants, to make more room in the greenhouse, so I now have a row of red onions in front of the grapevine trellis, and 2 pots containing the remaining 14. The seeds I bought are suitable for spring onions or letting them bulb up, so I'll be leaving them to grow on. The variety is Lilia, and they were planted on 12th January in a heated propagator to get them going. As soon as they were up they were moved out from the heat and have been in the cold greenhouse. They have not been fleeced against the frost, and during the day they have spent time outside, so hopefully they are well hardened off and able to cope, as long as the cats do not dig them up! The kohl rabi plants went out as well, and I still cannot find the seeds for the next sowing, so I think I feel a shopping trip coming on.
I put up a wigwam of canes for the runner and climbing French beans, just to get a feel for how much space they would take up. Unfortunately one of the connector thingies broke when I took them down last year, so something else to buy. Mind you, it was over 10 years old, so I can't complain. I can't decided yet whether to alternate the beans around the same wigwam, or have one of just runners and another of just French. I think alternating would look good, as I'd get red and white flowers together, but I don't know about the growth habits, and don't want one to be swamped by the other.
I also decided to take a chance on planting some courgettes in the heated propagator. This year I am trying a new variety (to me), Cavili. It is suppposed to set fruit even if they don't get pollinated, which is often a problem if the weather is less than perfect. I will also be growing Sunburst again. They are tiny, yellow, patty pans which look good on the plate. I also got a lot off each plant when I grew them before. I followed this up with cucumbers and some runner beans. I should have put some French in too, in case I want to alternate! I'll do some later ones of both sorts in any case to extend the cropping period, although last year the late ones caught the early ones up!
AccuWeather is not forecasting a really cold night until Tues 15th April, so I'll need to keep the fleece to hand for then. I am thinking I need to get the potato pots out, and the behind the greenhouse seems the warmest place in the garden, so as most people will have sown their earlies in the ground by now around here, mine should be OK as long as I cover any shoots that come through.
So far this has all been about veg, but I have also planted up some flowers. I put out 12 hardy carnations interspersed with ixia and sparaxis bulbs (they were dried up freebies that might grow), with cat repellant and rose prunings scattered across the bed. Having 6 cats is a challenge to a gardener, they have access to the indoor litter, but do use the garden as well. Fortunately they concentrate their efforts in our garden, although the appeal of astro turf one way, and 3 large dogs with paving the other doesn't offer much option anyway. I try to keep them to using areas that are not planted up, and put a tray of compost for them to use at the back of the garden once space becomes a premium.
The lavender seedlings seemed popular at the Garden Pub Club meet, with all six pots being taken. I hope everyone is successful at growing them on. I still have loads in the greenhouse, enough to do my hedge, and some for my brother too. We were also talking about raised beds, here is the link to the African Keyhole gardens.
Well after some showers overnight by the looks of it, the sun is shining again this morning, but I will have to do some food shopping today, or the teenagers will be complaining. I will try to 'divert' via a garden center to pick up the seeds and cane holder for the second wigwam, but must guard against impluse buys. It's so easy to pick up something, and then when you get home you realise that the 2 foot square you intended to put it in is actually more like 6 inches, and it just won't fit!

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