Cloche-080316This week in Stephanie’s Kitchen Garden, we will be trying to make some much needed space in our cold frame.  At the moment it is bursting at the seams with shallots, broad beans and peas to name but a few.  They have been hardening off and are now ready to be planted out into the garden. This will free up some room for salads and brassica seedlings which are currently in the greenhouse. At this time of year there is always a juggling of space for everything we want to grow.

We will also be pricking out our aubergines and pepper seedlings as well as potting on our tomatoes and sweet peppers. This will in turn make room in the propagator for more seeds to be sown. We will be sowing cucumbers, sweetcorn, squuash and courgettes in the coming weeks.

This week we will be harvesting the first forced rhubarb of the season. I have been keeping a daily eye on its progress and it is now reaching a good size for picking.  I can’t wait!

Despite the cold nights, we are now enjoying some really warm sunshine in the Kitchen Garden. On sunny days the temperature inside the greenhouse can climb quite dramatically. Our windows have autovents fitted which will provide much needed ventilation when it’s needed. On really sunny days, we have begun to leave the door open just a little to prevent it getting too hot inside. 
This month we are also changing some of the raised beds at the Kitchen Garden to mix up the shapes a little.  We like to do this early in the year so we can get sowing and growing in themas soon as possible. We will remove the older beds and replace with new ones, lining them with liners before filling them with fresh topsoil, manure and lush homemade compost.  They are in quite a shady part of the garden but our salads, spinach and chard enjoy growing there. They don’t take long to put together, its filling them takes a little time, but very rewarding.  We always like to finish the beds off with capping, to give them that extra special look.

We will be sowing carrots this month, carrots like lots of drainage so we will be adding some sand into the soil and sowing these directly into one of the raised beds, they have long roots so we will be using a 3 tier raised bed for the extra depth.  We will rake the bed over, mark out a row using garden string (we do like nice tidy, labelled up rows!), then sow carrots seeds (thinly) in drills and lightly rake back the soil.  To protect my carrots from the deadly carrot fly I will make a anti carrot-fly screen, or you can use an insect mesh netting with hoops and clips if you prefer.  After the seeds have taken I will thin the seedlings down and replace the mesh.