Shhh! Let’s not get too excited but “spring” may finally have “sprung” here. We have had a verrrrry loooong winter this year but in the last couple of weeks I think we’ve finally seen the last of the prolonged cold. We’re not completely free of frost risk, this is NW Europe after all, but I think that we’re through the worst of it and it’s time to dig out the seed box and review what’s happening in the garden.
First, some facts about our garden – we live about 10 metres above sea level and therefore the water table sits pretty high. The substrate is sandy silt so in the summer months we suffer from excess drainage and the rest of the year we are often saturated! However, this area was farmland before it was developed, so the soil is pretty good for growing.
We currently have 1 small raised bed which measures 1.5 x 3m and everything else has to be grown in pots on the terrace. It’s not much but it amazes me just how much you can produce from such a small space and I’d encourage anyone with a bit of garden or outdoor space to get digging!
Here’s this year’s plan for the open ground:
- 8 strawberry plants – possibly Elsanta
- 2 rows of sugar snap peas – v. Delikett
- 3 rows of dwarf beans – Montana and Amethyst
- 2 rows of carrots – Flyaway
And on the terrace:
- 3 potted blueberry bushes
- cucumbers – Beth Alpha F1
- chillies – Cayenne
- mixed salad leaves
- various herbs
Cucumber – Beth Alpha
The cucumbers and chillies were started off indoors and are just about ready for potting on, the strawberries are flowering and there’s one row of sugar snaps just poking through. The radishes are doing fine in a window-box and the herbs are starting to germinate. Everything else is a week or two behind schedule.
Chilli – Cayenne
To be quite honest, I’m really not that optimistic about this summer as the last couple of years have been predominantly cool and damp. Last year I lost an entire crop of garlic, the courgettes had botrytis, the climbing beans were poorly pollinated and the tomatoes were devastated by a tomato moth. It was a very frustrating season but I’ll not be completely deterred. I’ve decided to keep away from anything that requires warm, dry, sunny conditions and stick to more traditional North European crops and I’ll happily try a few F1 varieties – after all, it’s a small plot and I am seeking maximum returns!