Updated: May 19
The month of April has given us the blessing of some beautiful weather in the UK. With sure signs of summer just around the corner, we have learnt from last month that the weather can change quickly and not to be too hasty with outside planting. Having said that, we have transplanted lots of our early sown seedlings outside, 3 x varieties of cabbages, 4 x peas, 3 x broccoli, 3x brussels, 2x broad beans and many more. We have also began directly sowing outside as the temperatures are staying consistently above +5c, even over night. Germination for many seeds is prolonged in cold weather and a sharp frost will kill off most seedlings. We have sown radish, carrots, parsnips and spring onions and all but the parsnips are beginning to germinate. With the sense of achievement left by a busy period planting, we were then given another pre-warning to not become too complacent.
As our produce starts to look exciting and tasty to us, it also appeals to the wildlife around us. We have now began focusing our attentions on prevention of birds and other animals and insects helping themselves to hard earned reward. We take comfort in the fact that due to no pesticide or chemical fertilisers the animals think its tasty, which must mean it will be for us too. This being said, the issues needs addressing as we don't want to be left with no crop at all. Without a huge budget to spend. We have tied CDs to bamboo canes to deter birds as they blow in the wind. The reflection of the light is said to scare the bird away from your garden or veg plot. Other methods include a scarecrow, although this must be moved around as the birds are not silly, and will soon figure out that the scare crow isn't alive if it doesn't move. A more generous approach is to feed birds away from you veg. Animals have to eat too and if you provide a space for them to come and eat away from your plot, they are more inclined to leave your potential food alone. Although i'm sure as with you, the temptation of a tasty treat now and then may get too much, however this should help massively.
With a taste of the warm weather, came a glimpse at the enormity of watering such a large plot by hand. Due to our budget adding irrigation to our whole plot would at once could become costly. Although the eventual aim is to hook up some irrigation drip hoses for all of our beds, we are concentrating on the more important areas first. Our poly tunnel is top of the list due its nature of increasing temperature, which effectively causes water to evaporate quicker but plants also need a lot more water to survive, like us they get thirsty. With the addition to its benefit to time management, we can also keep the watering consistent through the summer months. We noticed and last year that irregular water of tomatoes can cause the fruit to split. To counteract the issue thus year, we have invested in an automatic water time, this automatically waters our poly tunnel at both sunrise and sunset, the perfect times to water your garden. We also noticed with the tomatoes last year, that being watered from above caused the fruit the mark and leaves small dots where the water has landed on the fruit. This is another reason we chose to use ground based drip irrigation as apposed to a sprinkler system.
With the seed sales slowing down now as planting season has begun, we change our focus to plant sales, and organic produce. We are hoping to begin our veg boxes by the beginning of June and will be providing small amounts of produce to local suppliers. Let keep our fingers crossed for the nice weather and no surprise frosts in the coming month.