When spring starts 3 weeks later than normal (though what is normal anymore?), mid-April will find the gardener very busy, busier than usual in this busiest gardening month. Throw in an unexpected (but very welcome) writing assignment with the usual work and it gets a little crazy. But I am not complaining – being able to work outside again, getting my hands dirty and filling the garden with compost, plants and seeds makes me happy.
So, here are a few things we’re up to these days.
The seedlings of tender annuals on the windowsill need to be repotted regularly, as soon as they fill their pots. The bigger the plants the richer I make the potting mix, adding our home-made worm compost to the bought potting mix. I mix in some builders sand, too, to improve the structure and a little lime.You can literally see the plants growing, bellow peppers (“Nordholandse Lange”) and eggplant (“Diamond” and “Ukkie”).
Our raised beds warm a little faster which means we can start direct sowing a little bit earlier. So far we have sown spinach, carrots, lima beans, several kinds of mustard, lettuce and snow peas. We are adding 4 more raised beds, made from Douglas fir. I am painting them with linseed based paint, not because it’s necessary (Douglas fir is naturally pretty weather-resistant) but mainly because it looks good – an important consideration for us, since we take most of the pictures for our articles in our own garden. We are still moving some plants from our old allotment to the new one, those we did not manage to move before winter, mainly cut flowers. Our edible forest garden has to do with very little care at the moment but since it’s filled with mainly perennial plants it will produce lots to eat even if I don’t touch it for moths. We are already picking some hardy herbs and fruit bushes are beginning to flower. As soon as I get to it, I will empty one of our compost bins and spread the compost in the garden. Some of our less hardy perennial vegetables did not survive the unusually cold and long winter so I am sowing sea kale and herb fennel to replenish the stock. My son was sick for a few days, sick enough not to go to school but not sick enough to lie in bed (I don’t really remember him being sick enough to want to lie down) and getting bored so I got him to help with the sowing. Learning to sow vegetables might just prove more important for his future than what shool has to offer anyway… And finally, we’ve added a bokashi to our composting system. We are participating in a municipal project trying to get people to compost more of their waste. We have a worm composter and a couple of compost bins in our backyard and several compost heaps at the allotment, but I wanted to try bokashi, too. Bokashi is a great alternative for people without a garden. The waste is actually not composted but fermented and you can even add things you should not put on your compost heap like cooked and uncooked meat. If any of you has experience with bokashi, I would love to hear about it!