Grow Your Own… April

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I started this post late March, but life, school holidays, Easter, work issues and a bunch of other circumstances have stood in my way, so I’m only finishing it now, mid April. Our last frost is predicted for the last week of April, so we’re just impatiently waiting now to be able to plant things out, since I don’t have many options for outdoor planting under shelter.  Of course, as soon as the weather becomes beautiful, all the protected trees around our property blossom and bloom and we have little to no sun in our garden, so it’s a double edged sword.

The wild strawberries I dug up a few months ago and plated in a hanging basket are doing well. Last year they produced a couple of pinky sized strawberries, so hopefully in good soil and with decent feeding they will do better this year. The ones we bought are also growing nicely. I love that we can see the new life forming.

Strawberry Plants

 

I was really excited by the number of pepper and aubergine plants that came up in our seed tray. I was particularly excited about the love the aubergines (egg plants) were sending my way. Last year we had two aubergines off a grafted plant, so in taking this picture, I took the hearts as a sign of hope.

Oh  little egg plant. All my hopes are in you!

About 20 minutes later I walked past with our evening dinner – a pack of frozen organic chicken – and I dropped it squarely on the aubergine plants, thoroughly squashing them. I tried to salvage them for a few days, but only one sprung back and survived. Lets just say the odds of me ever eating fruit from that particular tree are very slim.

Peppers

Peppers and AuberginesThere’s not much to report on the wild flowers yet, but I take a peek at them every few days in hope, and it’s brilliant feeling, seeing those little leaves pop up above the ground. It’s been almost a month now, and this is what we have. Soon there should be a brilliant mix of colours and different flowers adorning my view out the windows.

Wild Flowers

The seeds I planted directly outside about two weeks ago are doing really well and I’m so pleased. There’s mustard and lettuce and spinach, all waiting to be thinned out when they’re a bit bigger. Any hints on how to do that would be appreciated!

Spinach and Mustard Lettuce

Our potatoes are also doing amazingly well. I hope we have a better haul this year than last year where honestly, the slugs got more than we did! This is four days growth, mind you – I filled the soil up to the top four days ago. How awesome is that?

Potatoes

I’ve found some hidden treasures in the garden this year: I accidentally threw out the soil with the remnants of my wild garlic plants last year, but it seems to have spread to the ground soil around my pots.  Hopefully they’ll grow enough to be able to eat. Otherwise I’ll just have to go to the inlaws and pick some more.

Of 12 sunflowers, we have only one left, and it seems the slugs are getting at it already. I have to do something about the critters this year. I have a few more indoors still from  a different batch, so I’ll wait for the frost to pass before planting them out.Sunflower

And the same for our beans tipi. We don’t actually eat beans much, but I’m hoping having a fun play space will encourage us to enjoy them. So far I have a variety of different beans growing in the three pots.

beans

I don’t really get how onions work – does one onion grow into a bunch of others? Do you just dig up the one you planted. I have no idea, but I guess I’ll find out in November. The ones I planted are now growing like crazy, and the celery I got from my friend Karen is sharing a pot with them, and a few sprigs of wild garlic. I may have too much in that pot, but we’ll find out soon enough.Celery and Onion

Capture4

Finally, I’m insistent on having a fabulous courgette crop this year. In anticipation of that, I have four courgette plants growing indoors, waiting for the frost to pass. I’m worried they may be a bit leggy, but I’m hoping they’ll be okay. In anticipation of warding off bugs, and giving them the best chance of prosperity, I have planted French Marigolds in the pots they will go into – around the edges. It should be pretty, and it should hopefully protect my crops.

Not quite gardening, but part of the whole environmental thing, my girls were given a grow your own butterflies‘ kit for Ameli’s birthday last year. We ordered the caterpillars and they arrived this week, so we’re excitedly waiting for our caterpillars to form chrysalis.

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