Spring, part 2 ( I hope!)

So I was rather hasty in thinking that spring was on its way. We had a freezing north wind and frost for 6 days in a row. A disaster for orchards and vineyards in the area with some vineyards estimating to have lost 70% of their harvest.

The commercial farmers light smoky fires or irrigate to protect their crops from the ice. Fortunately in my garden heavy duty fleece seems to do the trick

April 6: Not so easy to cover the broad beans and the peas which have grown a lot because of the unseasonably warm weather in March.
First sowing of potatoes covered with tented fleece (if the fleece touches the leaves they freeze and burn) The other potatoes heavily mulched with manure to protect them

But on Tuesday the wind changed direction and no more frost. Hooray! It was worth the effort of keeping the fleece on.

Lovely feeling to hang up all the fleece to dry to pack away until next year ( I hope!) In the right foreground I have planted a variety of thyme – very rocky and dry here and looks scruffy, so I’m hoping the thyme will do well.

Unfortunately I think we have lost all our peaches and plums with the frost. The new shoots on the vines are damaged, but they will survive. I’m hoping the cherries and apples will be ok – bees still very active in the apples which is a good sign.

Espaliered apples protected by the wall of the old pigsty so they are not frosted.
Peas have survived the frost
And broad beans already forming pods

Whilst my neighbours still say it’s too early, I look daily at the fortnightly weather forecasts. As the Saints de Glace days (11-13 May) approach and no frost is forecast, my itchy fingers get the better of me! So… this week, 18 April, planted inside, courgette Yellow Fin, butternut Waltham, gem quash, cucumber Hillwood, butter beans Pienky Jas and french beans San Soucy. They should be ready to plant out in about 2 or 3 weeks when the soil has warmed up.

21st April planted 5 half rows of sweetcorn Alida. Germination can be patchy if the soil is cold, so I keep them fleeced until they germinate.

Potatoes and onions growing fast now. Cardboard in the foreground keeping the soil warm for planting courgettes

Tomatoes and peppers were getting lanky inside, so now that danger of frost is over it is a relief to pot them on and put them in the open barn to acclimatise before planting them in the garden.

. The thing that looks like a goal post 🙂 is a neat construction to tent fleece over the plants for the chilly nights.

The soft fruits are growing well now, unimpeded by the frost.

Raspberries starting to flower already. The steel bar is another of Craig’s great inventions to stop the raspberries falling over, yet high enough for me to get underneath to weed
Strawberries flowering profusely – much to the delight of bees and bumblebees.

It is also time to take my “Jen Frogs” (in memory of my sister who would have loved my garden) out of hibernation in the shed and into their place watching over the garden

I often have a cup of tea here in the mornings with the little frogs on the table my companions….

This week I was delighted to see a fox hunting rodents very close to our terrace. Unlike the deer, wild boar and badgers, they do not do any damage to my garden, so I love watching them.

2 thoughts on “Spring, part 2 ( I hope!)

  1. Oh my goodness! What a great post! Sorry to hear about the cold snap and the loss of some fruits. The mid and eastern U.S. also had snows on top of their spring gardens. I’m on the west coast and our challenge this year is serious drought. Your garden is so impressive and I enjoy seeing all the photos. Glad your espaliered apple was protected from cold agains the wall! It’s amazing you already have beans. Thanks for your inspiring blog!

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    • It’s great to know you are reading the blog and enjoying it! I get so much pleasure from the garden, and as a keen cook, it is wonderful to pick from it for the kitchen. If I am correct the west coast of the USA was affected by both drought and fires last year too – did this impact on your garden?

      Liked by 1 person

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