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April - busiest month of the gardeners year ?

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default Re: April - busiest month of the gardeners year ?

Post by Ploshkin on Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:43 pm

Gosh, Chilli Head, my tomatoes won't be in their final positions for another 3 or 4 weeks yet.
I've got a confession - I sowed my leek seeds in a big bucket following your advice. They took a while to germinate but have been growing well. I haven't taken too much notice of them apart from chucking on a drop of water every few days and a bit of feed. It occurred to me yesterday that the number seemed to be increasing and I had a closer look - I've been nurturing rather a lot of grass. Embarassed I had to spend ages weeding it out from between the leeks. I remembered today that I had mixed compost with soil from the mole tumps to fill the big bucket. The soil must have been full of seed.


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Post by freebird on Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:06 pm

Ha! Planted two of my tomatoes in their final greenhouse pots last weekend, also in homemade compost. However, I didn't start them from seed, but bought them in mid-March. I grew that variety last year, and they gave the earliest crops I have ever had. These plants are already flowering. If we get the promised cold snap, I'll have to wrap them up well.
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Post by Ploshkin on Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:27 pm

My poor plants in the polytunnel don't know if they're in the tropics or the arctic. They're having to cope with -2° to 42° in the space of 12 hours. I've just been and put fleece over everything again. The strawberries are covered in flowers and I've just put out some French bean plants.
I've finally got some sweetcorn going (in the house). I caught 3 mice in the greenhouse. The trap is still there and baited but it hasn't been taken for a few days now.
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Post by FloBear on Thu Apr 27, 2017 12:01 pm

I'm still roughly where I was a couple of weeks ago. Have planted nothing new, just done my best to look after what is growing. One advantage of the ridiculously dry weather is that my salad leaves are not getting eaten and my irises are opening up with flowers intact. Smile
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Post by freebird on Thu Apr 27, 2017 1:40 pm

My greenhouse stuff seems to have survived this cold snap. All cosied up in bubble wrap. Probably leave it on just one more night, then it's getting significantly warmer. I've lit the woodburner in the house as it's so cold.

I noticed that my sweetcorn has just germinated, so will have to move that out to the greenhouse soon. Think I'll put mouse traps down too, as I lost a lot to the mice last year.
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Post by Dandelion on Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:24 pm

Ploshkin wrote:I'm seriously fed up with lack of germination.  I put beans, peas and sweetcorn in root trainers (not used them before) and after Sutton there for ages not terminating they then got dug up and eaten by mice.  I put in more seed a couple of weeks ago and kept them indoors and all that has come up are 3 sweetcorn.
The beans and sweetcorn are last year's seed, the peas are new seed.  Does sweetcorn need new,seed every year?  I only grew it for the first time last year.
I've grown sweetcorn this year - I tried it for the first time last year but had an epic fail! However it has actually germinated this time, but not very prolifically. I followed the advice to plant two seeds per pot (which before seemed a waste of good seed) but I'm glad I did, as most pots only had one plant in, and three pots had none at all. I hadn't realised it was so hit-and-miss. Next year if I try it again, I may soak the seed before sowing.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Ploshkin on Fri Apr 28, 2017 7:37 am

I had no problem with sweetcorn last year, which was my first year. I recall it was almost 100% germination. After my first failures I bought new seed and even now it's only 50%.
My struggle now is with cucumbers. I might just go down to a garden centre and pick up a couple of plants.

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Post by freebird on Fri Apr 28, 2017 7:58 am

I saw that one of the two cucumber seeds has germinated - the seeds were from the swap this year. Waiting with bated breath for emergence of courgettes. Having run out of my tried and tested Verdi di Milano, I have sown a couple of yellows (also from seed swap) and some Black Prince. Trouble with the latter is the date had been torn off the packet, and I don't ever remember buying seeds from Homebase. Might have been a former seed swap. No idea if anything will come up.
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Post by freebird on Fri Apr 28, 2017 10:14 am

Just been down the garden to see if last night's rain did any good - and think I've just solved a mystery that's been puzzling me for the last...oooh... 3 years at least.

For the last few years my rhubarb comes up vigorously and early, then after the first picking, wilts somewhat and only throws up spindly, miserable stems. If I'm lucky I might get one or two more pickings in the entire season. I always feed and mulch.

When I walked down the garden, I saw the soil looked wet on top (though no further down unfortunately) but around the rhubarb it was bone dry. I puzzled about this for a bit. I had put the rhubarb's poor performance down to nearby fruit bushes excluding light and competing for water, but that wouldn't account for the ground being so dry after rain.

It has only just dawned on me that the 60' high leylandii hedge at the bottom of next door's garden is both causing a rain shadow and taking all the moisture from the soil. Because the hedge doesn't cast a direct shade on my garden (wrong side), I hadn't considered before that it was an issue for me.

I've been looking for a new place to put my cold frames. I think I have just found it.
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Post by Dandelion on Fri Apr 28, 2017 10:49 am

That sounds right Freebird. The only rhubarb I've had which has completely failed (and actually died) was planted near to our Western Red Cedar, and although it was in the sun it must have had extensive tree roots underneath. I have a miniature apple tree in the same position, and it's doing OK - presumably it's roots compete successfully with the cedar whereas the rhubarb wasn't happy. (BTW, when I dug up another rhubarb to split it last year I was amazed at the bright yellow of the roots of the rhubarb, and the unusual texture, a bit like rotten wood!)

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by FloBear on Fri Apr 28, 2017 11:45 am

Discovered this morning that some of my potato foliage has been caught by frost. Presumably the remaining leaves, and those to come will be OK. Have never had this experience before!
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Post by Ploshkin on Fri Apr 28, 2017 12:50 pm

It's a commonplace experience hear Flobear. If there's still plenty of foliage to come they should be fine. My outdoor ones have only been in the ground a few days. I have been covering the polytunnel ones with fleece as they are at the flower stage.
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Post by FloBear on Fri Apr 28, 2017 3:17 pm

OK, thanks for that, Ploshkin.
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Post by freebird on Sat Apr 29, 2017 5:34 pm

Oooh, my Tutankhamun peas are coming through - another seed swap. Also some sugar snaps. So I've been down in the greenhouse setting mousetraps ........
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