Monday, 11 April 2011

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Screw Andy Williams, now is so much better than the run up to Christmas. The whole world is bursting out of it's collective front door, skipping around and shaking off winter. I can take a shower in a room with natural light listening to the birds singing instead of in a horrible little room that resembles some cross between a closet and a space coffin. Lambs are out in the fields (yeah, I don't live near any fields, but I can think about them springing about). Everyone is outside mowing their lawn and playing with their kids and being happy that the dark snowy days of winter have been blasted away for a bit.

This being England, it will probably rain up a monsoon all summer and we'll end up having a tropical Halloween again.

Never mind.

This year I am sprouting butternut squash and sweetcorn in the greenhouse.

I have never grown butternut squash before, but I've had no problem growing courgettes and I grew a pumpkin a couple of years ago which turned out beautifully. It's the same family, so I doubt it will behave much differently (we'll see!).
I haven't tried to grow sweetcorn since I first started growing veggies in the back garden back in 2005. Then I failed miserably. Hopefully this year I'll have more success.

Out on the deck I've got a tray of carrots and leeks ready to grow.

I know you're not really supposed to transplant carrots, but every year I sow them in the ground in rows and every year they get decimated by either slugs or the cat scratching over them. This year I am determined to grow some damn carrots! It's completely futile because we have heavy clay soil in the garden, but there's plenty of compost and even some building sand to bulk it out with, so I might be in with a carroty chance this year.
Leeks are a doddle. Every year except the first I've grown leeks, I've ended up with more than my family could handle. My mum isn't big on onions. I'm sure I can find some students who wouldn't mind some free vegetables.

Also sprouting on the deck are my sunflowers and some yellow rose pips I saved from some prunings my mum took in the garden.

The sunflower I picked to grow isn't the giant variety, it's supposed to stop around 180cm tall, which is exactly what I want (giant ones are overrated). I want to intercrop it with the sweetcorn to create a tall patch of corn and flowers. I'd like to try harvesting my own sunflower seeds to eat too, but most of them will probably just end up feeding the birds.
No idea whether the rose pips will even germinate.

Here are my vegetable plots, dug over, ready for slug nuking and composting:

The green clump in plot 1 is a patch of garlic I planted 2 years ago that's taken up residence. I haven't the heart to boot it out. Homegrown garlic is fabulously strong, but it's difficult to peel. Plot 3, the large plot on the left of the picture is a virgin plot this year, so it's full of roots, stones and other nasties. That's where the corn and sunflowers are going.

This part of the garden is my main focus, but I've got other patches for growing flowers to attract a whole eco system to the garden (except slugs. Fuck slugs).

There are horse chestnuts springing up all over the garden, thanks to the local population of squirrels.

I'm going to try and pot up and relocate as many as I can. There are loads of pointless grass verges in Slough that could do with a big strong tree to liven them up. Or I might advertise them in the paper or on Gumtree to try and shift them off to new homes. It's important to try and save as many horse chestnuts as possible- they're under attack from a European invader. Here's hoping I can find this one a good site to thrive in for 100 years.

I'm also hoping that it rains for at least one day this week, because I'm pretty sure "unseasonably good weather" is not an extenuating circumstance to get me out of doing my essay. Stupid education...

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