24 APRIL 2020
As I am still in a very tired state I decided to attempt an earlier siesta today. I finish the morning care duties with the elderlies, sort out the chicken and attended to the polytunnel and cold frames and do some watering. This all takes a long time and it is now about midday and very hot… perhaps this would be a good time for a nap? I tried a sofa in the extension but get distracted by James so I sneak upstairs to lie down, but just as I’m nodding off I get called down for lunch. Meave has made French bread pizzas using fresh oregano from the garden and they are delicious. I grown many varieties of oregano, which is a beautiful plant, especially at this time of year when the leaves are fresh.
After lunch I give up trying to sleep – it not my strong point anyway– and I go to the polytunnel to finish sowing vegetables.
I fill two, long, lidded, 20 module trays with butternut squash (Butterscotch, Sweetmax and Hunter). This is probably my most important crop, and I harvest between 50 and 60 per year. Butternut squash are brilliant because they keep well. I’ve still got about half of last years harvest in storage and the supply might last until the beginning of next year’s harvest in October! I then sow 20 courgettes (Partenon and Zucchini) – I definitely will not need this many but some will get eaten by slugs! I then sow 6 Turks Turban squash (for display) and 6 Amoro (a heart shaped squash I’ve not tried before). Then pumpkins - 2 white varieties, 6 Polar Bear, 6 Old Boer White and also 6 giant Hundred Weight. Then 10 Jack O’Lantern - my main Halloween pumpkin and 2 small Sugar (left over from last year). It sounds like a lot of squash and pumpkins but our pumpkin patch is a large area and I love to see a sea of pumpkin leaves and flowers at the back of the polytunnel, it is a fine sight. I then plant 2 root trainers of sunflowers - Giant Single, Kong, Titan, Solar Power, Velvet Queen, Evening Sun and the Mexican sunflower, Tithonia. I grow a succession of sunflowers (one of the most important of world crops) many of which live in the polytunnel they are just miracles of nature. Finally, I planted 2 root trainers of dwarf French beans including Domino, Safari, Delinel, Stanley, Aiguillon, Slenderette, Traviata and Speedy. The dwarf French beans will be grown in succession and squeezed in wherever I have space. I think I have finally finished sowing everything for now, apart from my last onion sets which I will do tomorrow. I then start the long job of preparing the vegetable beds, 56 in total but about 40 still needing to be cleared in readiness for planting out the seedling vegetables and their companion planting flowers. There are thousands of plants to plant including several hundred dahlias and cannas. I will put them out as soon as possible because otherwise I will have a ‘log-jam’ of plants all needing to be planted at the same time. Maybe I can utilise some of my furloughed offspring to clear some of the raised beds and shift compost. I have just remembered… the second box of white mushroom spawn has arrived and I’ve squeezed it into the fridge alongside the brown mushroom spawn. That will be another job!