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Spring being a tough act to follow

“Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June.”
Al Bernstein

June is here at last. The 1st of June is the meteorological start of summer and the real start to things flowering in the garden. And it’s going to be a busy month, so we had a couple of extra volunteer sessions this week.

We spent last Sat morning getting our large decorated containers out of the yard and putting them into the garden. Then filling them up with 3 tons of the top soil we had in bags in the garden. We had extra help from the local Rotary and WI thank goodness. The volunteers worked very hard filling up every container we had in the garden and the yard. We’ve soil left over that we need to move into the yard, but moving 2 tons of soil is a bit of a challenge! So if you know anyone who can use a spade and wheelbarrow and wants to do a bit of bodybuilding……

The Rotary and W.I. groups donated an apple tree each, so they planted them at the back of the garden in extra-large containers. The apple varieties were recommended by Norton Priory as native to the UK. The W.I. tree is called Millie (a Millicent Barnes) and the Rotary tree is Minnie (a Minshull Crab apple) from Heathfield Orchards.

Luckily someone tall came along so we were able to put up 3 of the hanging baskets. A strawberry, a tomato and a flowery one. They are hanging on the railings, so hopefully they will get plenty of water when it rains. But they might be affected by strong winds, something that can be a problem. The strawberry plants already have strawberries developing on them. And the small cherrie kisses plant has a few green tomatoes on it now.

We also found a selection of donated plants and another tree left in the garden as a result of their previous owners needing to clear their patio. I think the tree is a corkscrew willow. There was also a large pot of bamboo, which we will split up and replant in pots. I’ve not grown this before, so it will be interesting to try out.

We had another session on Thursday afternoon when the C.R.A.F.T. volunteers looking after the veg garden helped me plant the seedlings that we’d all been growing. So far we have planted courgettes, leeks, runner beans, onions, squash and pumpkin. We also sowed some seeds for spring onions, chard, beetroot, radish and salad leaves. And we did a second sowing of carrot and pea seeds so that we have a longer supply of them. When we sowed the peas we noticed that the first plants have started producing pea pods. Seeing food growing always excites me. It’s so much nicer to see where food comes from, rather than just seeing it in a shop.

As part of me trying out different veg this year I bought an artichoke plant to grow. Not sure if we will get anything edible from it, but apparently it’s quite a nice plant anyway. I’m also having a go at growing some asparagus too. And like the artichoke it needs well drained soil. So I had to prepare the tubs for both of these differently to other veg tubs. I’ve researched on the internet and it seems best to drill holes in the sides of these tubs to improve drainage.

Another occasional volunteer joined me in starting to re-pot several plants from the garden too. Many of last year’s plants are too big for their pots, and several of the donated plants need attention too. This will be a job over the next few weeks.

The Blooming Old Gardener

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