Hear ye, hear ye… I have an announcement to make. But I will say it in hushed tones: “I think spring may finally be here.”
I don’t make this claim lightly – I’ve been gathering evidence. Out in the garden there are a number of things that suggest that we may finally have shrugged off the winter coats, and will soon be skipping around in our next season.
1. I’ve found the first slugs
Whipping the cloche off the broad beans, I noticed tiny holes in some of the leaves. A good old rummage around at the base of the plants revealed slugs. No bigger than a fingernail, but they are there nonetheless. I’m hoping if I catch them early enough, they won’t mature into stonking great specimens, so I’m trying a couple of cunning plans this year. As well as setting beer traps for them, I’m sprinkling roughly crushed eggshells around the stems of any small plants. I’ve read that slugs find it hard to glide over the rough surface. We’ll see.
2. We have frogspawn
The pond is alive with froggy love at the moment. Wherever I look, they are … ahem… ‘at it’. Coupled with that, there’s a massive clump of frogspawn in one corner. Now, going back to Point 1 above: I thought that having frogs in your garden cut down your slug population. I’d heard that the frogs go out at night in search of tasty sluggy snacks. Our frogs evidently had other things on their mind this week. I will say no more…
3. The greenhouse is going bonkers
Seeds that I planted months ago are finally popping up. I’ve got five kinds of tomatoes (one of them a mystery as the packet got wet and unreadable), courgettes, celery, cucumbers, runner beans, borlotti beans, chillies and aubergines. All very tiny at the moment, but they are there; they are healthy, and hopefully I can keep them all alive for the season. Exciting times indeed.
With all that extra growth going on in I’ve also been making sure that things don’t get overcrowded. I’ve split up my celery, onion and leek plants and replanted them in trays to give them a bit more elbow room. Some of the onion plants were a fair old size, so out they went into the garden. And they are not alone! The first of the raised beds is now full and complete, so into that have gone a row of purple sprouting broccoli, and two rows of cabbages. I’ve left room for some broccoli and cauliflowers that are in the greenhouse but are not quite big enough to go out yet.
The other two raised beds are now filled with a layer of rotted horse manure and yet more compost, and are now ready for some potato planting. I’ve been holding off doing this as the ground was simply too cold, but this week I’m going to bite the bullet. The spuds are going in.
This article appeared in The Hinckley Times on 18 April 2013