Unusual growing season this year
The weather in Stephanie’s Kitchen Garden last week was unseasonably cold and we even had an overnight ground frost one night. Ground frosts in May in our part of the world are a rare phenomenon. Consequently, our plans to plant out tender crops and to uncover our precious peach trees were postponed.
This week the weather has already warmed up and we are feeling confident in being able to safely plant out. It is certainly becoming an unusual growing season this year, with the serious lack of spring rain and the late cold temperatures. Mother Nature is challenging the Kitchen Gardener and it will be interesting to see what effect it has on our harvests.
The current conditions are a perfect example of why gardening books and websites should always be used as a guide as to what you should be doing and when, rather than set-in-stone rules.
Unless the weather forecast for the coming days changes dramatically, we will be continuing to irrigate our crops this week. Our crops are now heavily reliant on artificial watering as our water butts are completely empty.
To avoid wasting water, we are using soaker hoses to aim water at the base of the plants where it is needed, and watering cans for plants growing in pots. Crops grown in the ground, such as brassicas are given a thorough soaking once a week and are thriving. Plants in pots are watered every other day at present and this is keeping them healthy.
The greenhouse plants are watered most days. Our pea plants have begun to flower this week. They were planted out with an extra layer of netting to protect them from finches whilst they got to a good size. This layer of netting will now be removed to allow pollinating insects access to make sure we get some peas.
Inside the greenhouse the first flowers have appeared on our tomato plants which means it is time to begin feeding the plants weekly with a liquid tomato food. It won’t be long before we are enjoying our first taste of a homegrown tomatoes.