Well, after months of wet around the country, spring has started in the East Midlands.
The bluetits are looking in the birdboxes, the crows are balancing sticks in the trees trying to make nests and the insects are buzzing and fluttering.
Yesterday we saw our first Small Tortoiseshell butterfly sunning itself and we’ve been collecting up ladybirds and harlequin beetles to release them into the polytunnel to consume any greenfly that might be about.
The polytunnel has proved its worth over the winter, providing a steady crop of fresh lettuce and parsley but that has now come to an end. So, not wanting to waste the space whilst I’m waiting for the tomatoes to start, I bought a pack of living salad from Lidl, split it up into about 30 plants and put them out in the borders. I’ve done this for the last couple of years and it seems to work, the plants grow better than trying to germinate seeds in the dark and I don’t feel guilty if I dig them out before they’re big enough to eat.
We’ve also been digging at the allotment, most of the space is now turned over but our clay soil is too cold and wet to do much sowing so I’ve sown peas, broad beans and onion sets in 7cm pots so that they can get going whilst the soil dries out.
Another thing I’ve been doing is sorting out the compost heaps. Much of our compost is created at home, a combination of old growbags from tomatoes and vegetable peelings.
After 12 months this turns into really good friable compost but it has to be transported the two miles to the allotment. I will admit that I’ve taken to using the car after moving it by wheelbarrow got me some funny looks as I went through the nearby town.
I’ve also been scattering chicken manure pellets onto the allotment after seeing that the winter rains will have leached most of the nutrients out of the soil.
Anyway, its good to see spring and I hope that summer will make us forget what happened over the winter.