A very rainy day
I am up quite early today and although rain is forecasted I'm never quite sure whether to trust the forecast, and I'm wondering whether to water the sweet peas. I try to get some planting done before it rains, partly because that is ideal for the plants and partly to clear as much space as possible in the poly-tunnel for new seed trays. I plant two left over pumpkins in the newly cleared potato bed. They are stunted miserable specimens, but they will probably be fine and will cover the bed - probably unwise to allow pumpkins in the veg garden but I'm keen to keep bare earth covered. I have weeded the triangular ends of the 3 beds adjacent to this one and plant the ratibas at the end of each one. Everything is looking much tidier in this area - it is good to take borage out when it gets too big and old - on that theme I remove all the big borage plants out of the Quinoa bed. Borage is a brilliant plant for bees and therefore aids pollination but it does tend to take over. I then plant 11 delphiniums that I have grown from seed, along the back of the fruit tree border. I have groups of delphiniums positioned regularly along the back of the border, but some groups are bigger than others and the delphiniums in the last section have disappeared. The new plants will supplement some groups and create new colonies. I must not forget where they are when watering becomes necessary - it is now beginning to rain. Walking round the garden I decide to sit in the play house - I can just fit - a bit like Alice in Wonderland having swallowed the 'growth' potion! It is a lovely view of the garden, through the door and as I watch the rain pour down, I decide to read one of the old children's ladybird books that I've put on the shelf, titled 'How plants work' - it is very informative! I make a dash for the poly-tunnel, where I've planned to spend the day. I install my radio, I cannot cope without intravenous 'Radio 4', and set about tidying up. I spend ages tying up the tomatoes, the first ones are ripening and I'll have them for lunch. I reorganise the few remaining plants on the bench - almost everything is now planted - I look back at my garden diary to when I tried to work out how much there was to plant at he beginning of May. There were 5188 plants in trays, c200 Dahlias, c50 Cannas, c40 Begonias, and c50 random bedding plants - it seems incredible that all these plants are now in the garden - no wonder I have no time for weeding! .... and now I'm going to sow new plants. This may seem crazy, but I have to be conscious of succession, partly to ensure a constant supply of veg to eat but also to avoid empty beds at the Open Day when crops are harvested or finished. The rain is a brilliant opportunity to stay in the tunnel and plant seeds which will hopefully be ready to plant out before the next open day. I have a very industrious day planting 40 cell trays of, Apricot fox gloves, 2 trays of different lettuce varieties, a tray of spinach, beetroot, Japanese greens, 2 trays of winter salads, and broccoli. I plant an 84 cell tray of Spring onions and 3 root trainers (each 32 cell) of dwarf French beans. If everything succeeds this will be more than 500 plants to plant out in a few weeks! I am very pleased to get this job done and not waste the day, ti has been heavy showers all day and would not have been ideal to work outside. I then deadheaded the polytunnel sweet peas, that look as if they are finishing. I then stake all the chillies and peppers - which are beginning to 'form good sized fruits'. I cover the seed trays with glass sheets to keep out mice and shut up the polytunnel for the night.