Broad bean plants in flower

Leek, cauliflower and carrot seedlings which germinated indoors moved into greenhouse. Choy sum flower buds forming, almost ready to harvest. Winter cabbage and purple sprouting broccoli coming good in the garden, but no cauliflowers - they all succumbed to funal infection. Second batch of trinidad chillis have all germinated but still none from the first batch. I have to assume I killed them.

Mud and water at base of sapling tree

We have escaped the storms this month relatively unscathed, but parts of the ground are becoming waterlogged with the persistent rain.  In the first storm a branch came down from one of our trees and today we had to take emergency action to clear standing water from around the bases of our newly planted fruit tree saplings. In the greenhouse the autumn sown peas and broad beans are thriving and the latest sowing, which also included sweet peas, have all germinated. The winter gem lettuce is still struggling and the spring onions look sorry for themselves. Indoors the window sills are filling up with seedlings: tomatoes, aubergines, cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli, leeks and cabbage together with assorted flowers. Some are in warm rooms, others cooler. I swapped to peat free compost and am struggling to gauge the watering, especially in the propagator where the surface quickly dries out under the heat from the lights. After four weeks still not sign of the Trinidad chillis germinating. Have I killed them or am I being impatient?

Yellow Crocuses

After my concern about infection in the winter brassicas I scoured the on-line information to try to identify the problem but to me it could have been all or none of the diseases. I ruled out those which thrive in hot and/dry conditions. It has been wet and, for winter, fairly mild. The bed they are in is new  - nothing has been grown there before so I am assuming it isn't caused by the soil - and I have been keeping it as well weeded as I can in the current weather. In the end I assume it is some sort of mildew.  The kale and cabbages haven't developed any more yellow leaves but the curds of the cauliflowers started to look very unappealing and some did not have many leaves left, so to be on the safe side I pulled them up and disposed of them away from the garden. The spring brassicas which are on the other side of the garden are struggling to grow. The organic slug control wasn't completely effective and some were heavily "nibbled" earlier on, but they don't get much light at this time of year. Fortunately there are no signs of infection or discoloured leaves.  Elsewhere the spring bulbs are pushing through and last week the crocuses came into bloom; a little touch of spring before this week's storm and wintery weather. Indoors I have trays of seedlings on all my window sills. This year I'm trying for more flowers and ornamental plants. I need something bright to cheer me up. The webmaster isn't impressed. He only wants things he can eat.

Tomato Seedlings

Brocolli that did nothing last year, and which I'd been intending to pull up to make way for new planting, is developing some nice looking purple spears but winter cabbages and cauliflowers started to show signs of yellowing infected leaves. Fortunately removing them seems to have stemmed the problem and about half the cabbages had already been harvested and eaten anyway. All types of the autumn planted garlic are now throwing up shoots. In the greenhouse the broad beans and peas are coming on strongly, although the winter gem lettuce is proving a disappointment. This time last year I was over run with it. This year almost nothing. The first batches of indoor sown seeds have nearly all germinated and we now have trays of carrot, leek, cauliflower and tomato seedlings. The tomatoes have grown particularly well in the propogator and the hot chillis, including the Magnum we tried for the first time last year, but which were rather to late in the season, have also germinated.  This year we are hoping that sowing early will provide enough time for them to crop properly. The bare root fruit trees arrived but the ground is still rather wet and although not water logged it is difficult to prepare, so we have heeled them in to a pile of compost in a sheltered bay.  Oh yes, and the seed potatoes arrived and the first earlies have been put out to chit. 

Robin in Winter garden

We've been busy with odd jobs in the garden but so far the winter projects we'd planned have stalled. For a while during the general election campaign gardening took a back seat but we did manage to clear out the old beds and shred material for the compost heap. Plans to replace the rotted wooden edges on our older vegetable beds are on hold because we want to use the boards for making the shuttering for preparing the concrete base for the new poly tunnel. The constant wet weather has completely halted that project. The recent gales have snapped some of the canes we were using for makeshift cloche supports, but other than that no real damage. We have made a start pruning our old apple and pear trees which were neglected for years, sown the first batch of seeds indoors, putting the propagator we bought last Autumn into use for the first time. We have also ordered a few new fruit trees, so plenty to look forward to for the summer. Oh and we have repaired and cleaned the equipment, including a new wheel for our large wheelbarrow. The parts we ordered back in October for repairing our hedge trimmer still have not arrived. 

Bean plants

The first shoots from the onion and garlic sets I planted a few weeks ago are starting to show. The Autumn sown peas, broad beans and lettuce, both indoors and outside have begun to sprout and the lettuces will soon need to be repotted. We are currently in the process of clearing out the greenhouse and, outside, preparing the beds for next spring. The shredder will be working overtime for the next few days. While the soil has been too wet and heavy to dig we have been busy clearing the space for the polytunnel and today we more or less finished. Next stage is to lay a concrete base.