The weather is improving now in the Kitchen Garden
It's still feeling a little chilly in the kitchen garden, but the weather is definitely improving a bit now. The forecast for the coming weekend is warm and sunny so we will be making the most of the welcome fine conditions to get on with the many jobs that need doing at this time of the year.
Despite recent heavy rainfall we currently have strong drying winds blowing across the garden and this is drying out potted plants quite quickly. This week it is time to bring out the watering cans and hoses to keep our plants well-watered. From this week we will be starting to feed all of our plants in pots. Our potted bay trees and box topiary will be top dressed with fresh compost and a scattering of fish, blood and bone to give them their first feed of the season. Our potted apple and pears trees will receive the same treatment.
Inside the greenhouse we are continuing to sow, prick out and pot on all of our little plants and this will continue for some weeks to come. Our early potatoes, sown into a pot in the greenhouse several weeks ago, are growing strongly and now need a layer of compost added to the pot to earth them up. We are hoping to be rewarded with an extra early crop before the outdoor potatoes are ready.
Outside we are removing the fleece from our overwintered spinach plants and the shallots that we planted out a couple of weeks ago. These plants are well established and growing well and will now cope with the elements. Obviously, the fleece won’t be far from hand if a late wintery spell threatens.
Our peas will be planted out in the coming days and this signals the time to dig out the chicken wire from the potting shed. Our local pigeon population are very partial to pea plants and have destroyed many crops over the years. We have also had finches tuck in. After many experiments we have found that the best results come from surrounding the little plants with a chicken wire fence and draping bird netting over them until they are well established. Once they are about 18 inches tall, the bird netting can be removed but the chicken wire remains.
All this talk of peas and new potatoes gives me a timely reminder that it is time to divide and repot our mint plants. They are already showing green shoots and leaves, but benefit from being divided every year to keep them vigorous. We inevitably end up with excess plants from this process which always makes us popular with friends and neighbours!