What a difference a month makes

May 2014

What a difference a month makes! After the wet winter and the mild spell in April the garden is bursting with growth. I don’t think I have ever seen the perennials and shrubs looking as advanced in my borders as they do this year. I already have lupins that are trying to flower and delphiniums in bud which is unusual for this time of year.

My shrub and perennial border

My shrub and perennial border

Lupin starting to flower

Lupin starting to flower

 

Hostas, that were once just tiny shoots poking out of the ground are now in full leaf and looking spectacular; and soon when yellow I will be cutting the daffodil foliage down. Because last month was so wet, the slugs and snails have been very active so a little slug deterrent has been necessary to keep these plants looking at their best. I also have two very nice looking acer plants in large pots that stand on a raised wall. They are spectacular, which is probably down to me re-potting them last autumn. Now, they have a lot more growth and the colour this year is more intense.

Hostas , lets hope the slugs keep away

Hostas , lets hope the slugs keep away

Acer pots have looked superb this year

Acer pots have looked superb this year

Strawberries that were planted and fruited last year have stood outside in the same pots all winter. These had a top up of feed to keep them going and they’re now in full flower, so should crop well. The glasshouses are bursting at the seams; Begonia Semperflorens are looking good as are the other bedding plants I am growing. Some of the earlier sown bedding plants have been moved out into the cold frame to slowly harden off, so they will be ready to plant at the end of the month. I am still watching out for any very cold or frosty nights that are still possible, if they arrive the frames are closed down and covered with blankets for protection.

Strawberries in flower, should be a bumper crop

Strawberries in flower, should be a bumper crop

Bedding Begonia semperflorens in greenhouse

Bedding Begonia semperflorens in greenhouse

On the allotment all is growing well. The potatoes look good despite the couple of below freezing nights we had earlier this month, thankfully most did not get nipped as I had covered them with some fleece.

 

Potatoes growing well despite cold nights

Potatoes growing well despite cold nights

The peas are growing well under a net protection tunnel. I have a row of Twinkle that I raised under glass and planted out, followed by Hurst Green Shaft sown the same day as others were planted out. My third row is Hurst Green Shaft sown two weeks after the first sowing of Hurst Green Shaft appeared. This will give me a good succession of peas to pick.

Pea Twinkle and Hurst Green shaft under net

Pea Twinkle and Hurst Green shaft under net

Lettuce sown in March and planted out under fleece cloches are ready for cutting. I have little gem and analena under the cloche and they taste superb. I have another planting to follow these, then another in the cold frame ready for planting in a couple of weeks. I have just sown another batch, as I like to sow a few every two weeks and prick out so I have home grown lettuce all season.

 

Lettuce Analena under fleece cloche ready to cut

Lettuce Analena under fleece cloche ready to cut

My parsnips and radish have germinated well, the radish was sown in-between, which I am pulling to add to the lettuce in my salad. Another sowing of radish has also been made to follow on. Carrots and beetroot have also germinated well and I will be doing another sowing soon.

Parsnip seedlings with radish in-between

Parsnip seedlings with radish in-between

Carrots germinating

Carrots germinating

 

The brassicas are growing well despite a slight attack from flea beetle when the soil was so dry. A dusting of insect powder soon got this pest under control, plus the wetter days helped.

Brassicas under net protection

Brassicas under net protection

The large exhibition onions are progressing well, this year I am growing globo.  My leeks that were raised from pip were planted out the first week of May. It has rained most days since so they are now establishing well in their wind protected area of the plot.

Exhibition Leeks & Onions with wind break protection

Exhibition Leeks & Onions with wind break protection

In the polytunnel I have planted my tomatoes and peppers into some bottomless and placed them on grow bags. These will be trained up strings as they grow. The cucumbers are too small at present and are still growing in the glasshouse at home.

Tomatotes & peppers planted in polytunnel

Tomatotes & peppers planted in polytunnel

Also in the polytunnel I have some Potatoes Maris Bard which were planted in bags earlier in the year, these are just starting to flower and I can feel some tubers already. Also I have some carrots sown early in pots; these will be moved outside soon and will give me an early feed.

Rhubarb Fultons Strawberry surprise , bring on the crumble

Rhubarb Fultons Strawberry surprise , bring on the crumble

Finally the Rhubarb Fulton’s Strawberry Surprise is growing really well , harvesting has started and will continue for many more weeks. Thankfully all the family enjoy a rhubarb crumble and this variety with its red stems is one of the tastiest.

Happy Gardening!

 

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