After weeks of warm and sunny conditions, icy winds blew from the north, and we woke to the whole garden white with frost for 3 days (27 -29th April). I should listen to the locals who talk about Les Saintes de Glace (the saints of ice) Apparently one should wait for the three Saints de Glace days to pass before planting out seedlings: St Mamert (11 May), St Pancrace (12 May) and St Servais (13 May). How true it has been for this year!
My potatoes had sprouted really well, but forewarned of the impending frost I covered them with fleece (draped over empty water bottles, cut in half) This kept the fleece off the young shoots and created a cosy protected environment. And it worked! Not a single potato damaged. Phew!
I also fleeced fennel, courgettes (4 layers!) and young flower seedlings in the picking garden and those plants have survived unscathed. But the young vine on the new pergola has been badly hit, so too has the other vine on the big pergola. The fig tree, full of young figs, has suffered too.
To make matters worse a badger decided to hunt for food in my raised beds. Initially I thought it was a wild boar/ sanglier but then I found muddy footprints on the fleece and it is definitely a badger.
Damn! Their primary diet is worms and grubs and my soil in the raised beds is full of earthworms. The badger lifted off the netting, unearthed every strawberry and made huge holes.
Fortunately where it rooted around by the cauliflowers and broccoli it did not damage any plants.
I am hoping that the electric fence will keep him out – on the night he came in some dandelions had frozen and fallen onto the fence which would have reduced its efficacy. But this might be wishful thinking as they have thick bristly coats which would insulate against the current.