Last frost

It was hard to wait with planting out this year – incredibly warm temperatures mid-April lulled me into a sense of the arrival of spring. 24 April recorded temperatures of 24C at midday and then suddenly in the midst of the warmth, one week later, 31 April the temperatures dropped to just below zero and we had a light frost.  Fortunately weather predictions had been accurate and I covered the more tender plants with fleece; the only thing that looks a little unhappy is the grape on the potager pergola – it’s young shoots did not like to be frozen.

A belated update of the planting progress:

22 April – planted sweetcorn. We had had such warm weather and the quadrant had been under black plastic all winter, so I hoped the soil was warm enough. I planted, then covered with a double layer of fleece (sweetcorn requires at least 18C to germinate) After the cold snap, I was nervous, but opening the fleece a week after the frost, I was thrilled!  Success!In the background – onions growing really well and 2 rows of potatoes were mounded in the last week of April.

5 May- planted out butternut, melon, courgette. Tomato Losetto (cherry) planted in the wine barrels on top of the stone wall.

Chilli peppers planted in the pumpkin patch. Planted 3 x Peppadew, 2 x Espelette, 1 each of Cayenne, Jalapeño, Tabasco, an unnamed bought hot chilli, Habanero. I’ve planted them in pots in previous years, hoping that I can over-winter them in the open shed, but they don’t cope with the cold. I’ve put one Tabasco in a pot this year – it’s a pretty plant so I will try bringing it into the house and see how it copes there in winter.Craig has been busy replacing the collars that hold the tubing I use for holding stakes and netting. We originally used plastic ones, but they have broken, so he is replacing them with aluminium ones. It’s a tedious task as we need to dig out enough soil for him to be able to work with a drill.  My ‘no-dig” philosophy doesn’t like disturbing the soil like this!!The espaliers looked pretty this year when they flowered – good flowering for the first time, which means I had pruned them correctly. Hooray!!  But I didn’t take any photos 😦 except this one of one of the apples, in rather poor light. I’m not crazy about the curve on the top row of branches, but the other apple looks similar, so it will stay like this. 

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