Sunday 27th March 2022 – Mother’s Day

Two lots of pressies in one week, I felt totally spoilt today. The previous week had been immensely busy (no change there really), and Saturday was full of household chores and shopping. Sunday was Mother’s Day and the weather was going to be a little “meh” in the morning but brightening up in the afternoon, but I was planning on being in the garden/greenhouses for as much of it as I could. The kids bought me in a cup of tea and my presents.

I know that it looks like the beers are attached to the t shirt, but obviously they’re not, how would I wash it? There is something so special about the kids tv shows that I watched when I was younger, especially Mr Benn, they’re just so innocent and quiet, no flashing noises and loud bangs….makes me sound like a massive oldie.

I had bellringing in the morning and as soon as I got home I grabbed a cup of tea and headed outside to the greenhouses. I had lots of pricking out to do and sorting, so that would take up most of my time, I would them see what time I had afterwards to see what I could do in the garden.

I started with my tomatoes, they’ve been a little slow in coming through, but are on their way and there are more just starting to germinate, so when you’ve pricked out all the ones that are large enough, level off the compost again, water and leave for a bit longer to let the others grow.

Here’s a little video showing how I prick out mine…

Then it was onto a load of brassicas, Brussels Sprouts, Calabrese, Cabbage and Kohl Rabi.

To be honest I should have done these last weekend, but we had the entire family, plus a couple of extra over for the day (I cooked for 19! Yes you heard me correctly), so needless to say I was a little busy all weekend. All brassicas need to be pricked out in the same way and make sure you plant them “deep”, which basically means all the stem should be under the soil and just the leaves showing.

Here’s a video explaining it a little more.

Then the Lettuce, where I grouped 3 seedlings together. When I harvest these I’ll pick leaves rather than the entire lettuce, so clumping them together is fine. Again plant these deep so the stems are under the soil and just the leaves are showing.

The Italian Parsley was next on the list for pricking out and again I clumped a small group of seedlings together. Parsley seedlings will be very happy in groups of up to 10 so you don’t have to be pedantic and count them exactly.

When the parsley is large enough I’ll plant it outside in larger pots. In a couple of weeks time I’ll sow some more seeds, so hopefully I’ll have a good supply throughout the summer and into the autumn. Make sure you water all the seedlings briefly from above, this will level off the compost and fill in any holes, and then from the bottom, so the compost will suck up the water and encourage the roots to grow down and fill the pot.

Then it was the turn of the spinach and chard. Again I clumped 3 seedlings together and planted them deep in the soil. I’ve not grown chard for a few years, I had some at the allotment and it did really well so it’ll be interesting to see how it does here. Spinach always seems to grow well and it’s always a great addition to a pasta dish plus the chickens love it.

I’ve got Artichokes and Cardoons growing in my garden and don’t really have any space for anymore, but I’m not going to waste the seeds as some of my client’s might like some in their gardens. The bees love them and the flowers look so pretty. Most people just keep them in their veg patch, but they look amazing in a large flower border. The roots are very long, so prick them out as soon as you’re able otherwise they get a bit tricky to move.

The first lot of Leeks are ready to prick out, the second lot of seeds I sowed are on their way, but they’ve been quite a way behind the onions this year, hopefully they’ll catch up soon.

The Peppers and Chillies have been rather slow this year, but they’re now on their way. I think they just needed a little extra warmth to wake them up. Now, Chillies and Peppers need to be planted “Shallow” which means that only the very bottom of the stem and all the roots should go under the compost. They don’t mind dirty feet, but don’t like dirty legs.

Here’s a little video with a bit more information for you….

My seedlings are still quite tiny, but I’ve levelled the soil back over and hopefully a few more will grow later on.

My Cucumbers are all doing fine and germinating well. I sowed 2 seeds per pot and most have come up. All the varieties I have this year are outside ones so when the weather is warmer then they’ll go outside and climb up my trellis arch…. well that’s the plan anyway. When I get to do that I’ll let you know. But for now they’re just starting to get their first set of true leaves so they’re doing well. These won’t need pricking out, they’ll stay in these pots until I move them outside.

The first lot of Peas I sowed are also sprouting well. You can sow peas directly outside, but I find the squirrels and mice tend to dig them up and run off with them and the germination rate is poorer. So I like to start them off inside and give them until the middle or end of April and I’ll plant them outside. Once I do that then I’ll start the next lot off.

One thing I did plant outside today was my Broad Beans. They’ve been growing really well in the greenhouses but are very robust plants and don’t mind a little cold weather. I’ve been putting them outside during the day for the last week and bringing them back in at night so as to acclimatise them. You should acclimatise all plants otherwise they go into shock and stop growing. I’ve now planted them out in one of my square beds at the back, so hopefully they’ll be happy.

Then the final thing I did was to fill my hanging buckets. I bought these a while ago and have had various plants in them from nasturtiums to sweet peas. But this year I’m putting various herbs in them I’ve chosen Spearmint, Rosemary and Catmint that I ordered from The Secret Gardening Club. I know this may sound a little weird, but there is a method in my madness so let me explain. I seem to have stopped the rats from digging under the fence, but they now come over the fence. They do this by climbing up next doors Ceanothus bush, walking along the fence and then down into my garden….little buggers.

I’ve seen them do it. Rats eyesight is poor but their sense of smell is very sensitive and they don’t like any strong smells. Apparently they don’t like the smell of Rosemary, Peppermint, Lavender and Marigolds. Lavender I have now put in medium sizes terracotta pots and placed in various areas of the garden, and as I couldn’t get Peppermint I figured Spearmint would have to do. The Marigolds aren’t ready yet, but when they are, I’ll plant them around the garden and the Catmint I was hoping they might think I had a cat and stay away.

Only time will tell if they work, but here’s hoping.

So that was my Mother’s Day. I did exactly what I wanted and with the help of the family I had a wonderful day xx

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