April has been pretty rubbish on the gardening front. Hard to do anything between the showers (I don't mind getting wet but the two apprentices in the buggy do!), visitors and a couple of weeks in France introducing the apprentices to the family!
Still managed to plant potatoes just before Easter. This year we've got Red Duke of York, Charlotte, Pink Fir Apple and Saxo Arpona - supposedly blight resistant - all from my trusty Alan Romans, a Scottish family business based in Fife. As local as can be ...
I also sowed a couple of row of broad beans at the same time and they are now about 10 cm tall, which means the mice didn't get them to my relief!
Thankfully I have managed quite a few afternoons since our return from France and the plot now looks in a reasonable state. Nowhere near as good as it did last year but I'm not setting the bar very high this year!
I've sowed some parsnips and carrots, hoping for the best. If we get just one, that will be an improvement on last year anyway!
I've also got peas and beans organised. Some dwarf peas called 'Hatif D'Annonay', some mange tout 'Norli' and a variety called 'Asparagus Pea' which is actually nothing like a pea but looks like a crinkly bean and tastes a bit of asparagus (surprise surprise). For the beans I went for 3 climbing varieties: 'Soissons' (a green flageolet), 'Borlatta di Fuoco' (a borlotti) and 'Cherokee Trail of Tears' (an old variety of green beans). I also got some dwarf beans, which name I can't remember just now. And finally some runner beans 'Red Rum' to cover the metal fence at the bottom of the plot.
The asparagus are now coming through but because they're only in their second year, there's still no picking!!!
The strawberry bed needed a serious tidy up with lots of last year runners still attached to the mother plants and lots of weeds too. It looks a lot better now and I can't wait to pick my first strawberries of the season - still a long wait though, we're only getting the first flowers now!
I have now picked the last of the purple sprouting broccoli - we had a great harvest this year for the first time and it was delicious. Well worth the space it takes!
I leave you with a general picture of the plot taken from the lawn area a the top.
In the first bed on the left are the potatoes, followed by parsnips and carrots on th other side of the path. On the left, in one of the small beds by the old greenhouse, I have the garlic which I planted back in January. Then the strawberry bed and an empty bed in which the brassicaes will go and at the bottom, barely visible are the last plants of the PSB which I have now removed to make way for the sweetcorn and courgettes I have inside in propagators (that is if they ever get big enough to be planted!). I'll have to take more photos next time but the apprentices were complaining I was taking too long ...