Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring is in the air

Spring is definitely here. We have had some sunny days which were actually warm, and now drizzle days which aren't really cold. Crocuses are popping their heads up everywhere around town and daffodil leaves are poking through. The Rhubarb is also being brazen and poking through with enough force that when I come back from trip I know it will be harvestable. This is particularly exciting for me as its plants I grew from seed last year and had to leave alone, unpicked until this season.

The trip I am going on is to China for arty stuff. Its all very exciting and you can read about it on my other blog if you are interested. The main issue for me gardening-wise is that I will be away for all of April. This is a critical seedling month and I have been thinking ways around it as much as possible.

I decided to be brazen with the outdoors. I planted many different edible crops in the last weeks in containers. Concentrating on special - and often oriental - varieties of things which are more hardy in the cold. Different types of chinese spinach as well as perpetual, japanese onions, pakchois, kales, radishes and many types of salad leaves - focusing on winter types and hardier plants such as mustard leaves and rocket.

I also layered raised containers with stones at the bottom and a strawy mulch on tope so that they will be warmer and also not waterlogged - with the exception of watercress, which I need to be soaked constantly. With these I hope to see at least their heads poking up when I come back - or better still, edible leaves.

Indoors after much toing and froing and threatening to exile her, I have left 150 prospective seedlings in the care of my house mate. I planted only half of each variety figuring if they are not alive when I return I can try and do a second batch and hope they catch up. The poor girl hasn't got any experience in plant care so I hope my written instructions plus demonstrations pull through. Its quite an intimidating batch.

Other than that, my chives and spring onions are actually edible now and my 2 tomato plants I managed to overwinter are showing flower buds, as is my 3 year old chili plant. I did have 2 3 year old aubergine plants and some other chili plants but sadly last time I went away, the aforementioned housemate didn't realise plants need more than a sprinkling of water when they are in a window above a radiator. I did grieve, especially the aubergines. But bless her, she didn't even realise they died. Even though all the leaves fell off and only brown sticks remained....

I was very excited about having early aubergines and chilis but next year I will take more plants in to overwinter. This is the only way to get mega early crops and as soon as the chili flowers are out like now, I know spring is here.

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