This weekend I peeked out of the window and spotted a strange orb-like light in the sky. Hoping that North Korea hadn’t gone mardy with the rest of the world, I had another look. Happily, we didn’t seem to be on the brink of a nuclear invasion: the light in the sky was just the sun. I just didn’t recognise it for a moment.
With not a minute to lose, I shot off down the garden to crack on with some jobs. I’ve had the cloches on the soon-to-be legumes patch (peas and beans) for a week or so, to warm up the soil, so decided to plant some of these first.
My broad beans were a good old size, with a decent root structure, so two rows of these went in first, complete with their toilet roll plant pots. Next up were the Douce Provence peas that have been camping out in an old grow bag in the greenhouse all winter. I dug a hole the same dimensions as the grow bag, and managed to get them all out of the bag and into the ground, soil and all. As the weather isn’t quite tropical yet, I replaced the cloche tunnels to protect the plants from any nippy nights.
At this point, the other half joined me to carry on with Operation Raised Beds. In what seemed like no time at all, the last two frames were made and ready to be anchored in their final positions. I was quite prepared to just whack them down in a ‘rustic’ layout, but oh no… the Virgo in him reared its head. The path had to be moved three inches to the left, and the beds had to be in line with each other and an equal distance apart.
I do have to admit the meticulous approach paid off, and the raised beds look rather good – I can’t wait to get stuff growing in them. Wanting to get at least one of them in action, I set to work emptying the compost bins. Before long, I’d shovelled out two hefty barrows of compost, which went straight into one of the frames.
A quick trip to the garden centre, and four bags of topsoil later, and the first raised bed was complete. This year, this bed will be planted up with brassicas. I have a couple of rows of cabbages and purple sprouting broccoli that are ready to go in, but these have so far been in the greenhouse. Not wanting to shock them, I’ve put them under the cloches so they can get used to the change in temperature gradually, before I plant them up outside.
It’s still a bit cold to plant potatoes – the advice from others is that when it’s warm enough for weeds to start growing, it’s warm enough for spuds to go in. I know spring has been late arriving this year, but I do have high hopes that everything will catch up eventually.
The Hinckley Times 11 April 2013