APRIL IN THE GARDEN
We cannot quite believe that April has come around so soon. March was a busy month with lots of sowings, cultivating, planting out and continually harvesting. Although the salad has been a bit fiddly picking due to slug damage we have still managed to harvest over 100kg from the tunnels since the end of winter. We have begun harvesting spring greens, continued picking purple and white sprouting broccoli and kale and started pulling spring onions from the tunnel as well as continuing with the parsley, chervil and coriander.
Sowings throughout March have overall been successful and the propagation tunnel is full of plants that will be planted throughout this month. April is a big month for planting and signals the turnaround in the polytunnels from winter salad to summer crops. The winter salad is just beginning to flower and so leaf production is now slowing as the plants try to flower and set seed due to the change in day length and temperature. The tomatoes, cucumbers, French beans, melons, chillies and aubergines are growing well in the propagating tunnel. Some of these are growing much more rapidly in their pots compared to last year due to the warm march weather. We are hoping they will remain happy in pots until mid-late April when we will plant them out into the tunnel.
Most of our potatoes have been planted and we have begun to plant shallots from sets. Spring onions have also been planted out and carrots, radish, broad beans and peas have all been sown direct into the soil. We have also sown our green manure ley, which is a pure stand of red clover. This will fix nitrogen from the air into the soil throughout the summer and will then be turned in next spring before planting potatoes which are heavy feeders and so benefit from the clover. Green manures are an integral part of organic farming and growing and improve the fertility of soil as well as adding organic matter, which has huge benefits to soil structure and biodiversity.
Our summer salad (mainly lettuce) will be planted shortly as will chard, beets, spinach, onions and shallots (from seed). We have also started sowing herbs for the new herb garden at Trill, many of which have started germinating in the propagating tunnel.
Our weekly stall outside Town Mill Bakery in Lyme Regis starts up again on the 7th April where we will be selling vegetables, plants and other farm produce throughout the spring, summer and autumn every Saturday.