Updated: Feb 28, 2019
The glorious weather continues, alas half term is over, which means my gardening time is curtailed at 3/3:30pm. I love my pupils dearly, but it gets harder to come in from the garden as the daylight extends later and the weather is so beautiful. Also the necessities of shopping and cooking eat into my 'outside' time, however, there is no point in growing all of this veg if you don't cook it! I finished up butternut squash soup for lunch, which also included potato, celery, red pepper and giant courgette in it's ingredients. Tonights dinner is beef curry for 6, which uses up a decent amount of stored potatoes, which are beginning to sprout!
Today I plant out the old water tanks with strawberries... or at least the lucky few (18) plants that will fit in them (the remaining 78 will be planted as weed suppressing ground cover on the floor of the fruit cage). Senga Gigana gets the biggest tank (9 plants) a medium early fruiting variety with giant fruits... yum yum! Honeoye - an early variety, goes into the medium tank (4 plants). Albion - an everbearer variety and Florence (late) go into the two medium small tanks (2 plants each) and one Cambridge favourite (mid season) fits into the smallest tank. It is going to be hard to do the right thing with these strawberries, I should remove their flowers and let them grow and increase in strength this season, rather than allowing them to fruit too soon... I will try to be good!
I actually decided to use my lovely new secateurs which were part of my prize for coming third in 'Kitchen Gardens' magazine Passionate Plotter competition and then, coincidentally the March Kitchen Garden magazine arrived containing the article on our garden which was very exciting. Strange to see myself and our garden, in a photo, in a magazine I've read for so many years! I then decided to fill the 'blueberry bath', the bath already contained a layer of crocks for drainage . I covered the crocks with a layer of dry christmas tree needles which will hopefully increase acidity and then a layer of garden compost, then finally a thick layer of leaf mould. It was a bit like making a lasagne, the whole process was watched by a slightly puzzled Grandad who was also trying to work out how old the bath was - "I think it's pre war" he finally said. I then planted three 'Patriot' giant blueberry bushes (fruit, not plant). I am liking the idea of giant strawberries and giant blue berries, I will also be planting some giant blackberries - good job I've always been a bit of a 'fruit bat'! Typically the day has been a battle to focus on specific jobs and to try not to get distracted by the multitude of other potential tasks awaiting my attention. But I still find myself checking and watering overwintering plants in the old caravan (they look quite sorry for themselves), visiting the bees, assessing the state of recently transplanted plants and very enjoyably admiring early spring bulbs. The crocus lawn - which I add hundred of bulbs to every year - is exceptional this year. The first crocus bloomed around the 10th February and the lawn is really in full bloom now. This area is a miniature orchard, to which I have recently added six different varieties of Crab Apple. It also has a medlar, quince, pomegranate, pear and plum with figs on the back wall, each with it's own little crowd of crocuses around it's feet. It is more than 20 years since I admired a beautiful crocus lawn close to Hammersmith bridge, when I used to teach in London and I dreamed of creating my own crocus lawn and its wonderful to see it come to fruition. I finished the day pruning the black currants down to one bud... again we'll have to wait for fruit until next season... the joys of deferred gratification... gardeners have to be patient!