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Tag Archives: April

May Day

I have been given permission by Earthly Pursuits to use their collection of  The Allotment & Garden Guides which were first published by The Ministry of Agriculture in 1945. Just a note of caution: some of the chemicals that are suggested for use are now illegal to use and will be harmful to users, animals and the environment so please check what other methods are suitable instead.

The Enemy

The full April Allotment & Garden Guide can be found under ‘Wartime Advice’, and the information given in them is still relevant today,  but l love this page showing the difference between a Centipede and a Millipede in the form of a Centipede being a ‘fast moving friend’ and proudly showing the Union Jack flag and the Millipede being a ‘slow moving enemy’ with a Swastika! Priceless!

These leaflets are surprisingly difficult to get hold of considering they were printed in their hundreds of thousands to promote the Dig for Victory campaign. I have the odd one and l am always on the look out. Ebay is a good place to start looking but know when to stop bidding as l have seen them fetch silly amounts of money.

So, April is behind us and what a month it was! The hottest on record and l can well believe that. A lot of us had over 25c or nearly 80 f and no rain for weeks now making this month, of all months, particularly difficult in the garden. BUT, last night we had thunderstorms and it started to rain and this morning it is still raining. Thank goodness as the garden was resembling a dust bowl and l felt so sorry for all the birds trying to raise their young. This will really help bring things along and l am sure l will be seeing big differences throughout the garden over the coming days. I kept the salad bed well watered and we have been eating some really nice ‘cut and come again’ Hot & Spicy salad leaves, rocket and Mizuna. Delicious.

At least we now live in relatively peaceful times on our shores and we don’t have to worry about the Nazis invading us. 70 years ago in 1941, Hitler’s intensive bombing campaign was drawing to a close and he had to abandon ‘Operation Sealion’, the invasion of our shores. Over 40,000 civilians lost their lives during the Blitz but moral remained high, on the whole,  and everyone pulled together over the coming years  to see it through to the bitter end. It is these people and in this period that l will always remain fascinated and in total awe.

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Posted by on May 1, 2011 in May, The garden

 

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My Garden

I thought l would add a few photos of the garden as it is not normally quite so weed free but with the long hot dry spell the weeds are slow in returning.

The potager

The potager takes up half of the garden. The other half is made up of two large round grassed areas suroounded by various shrubs, grasses, trees and flowers. The beehive is actually a compost bin l made some years ago following a Geoff Hamilton design. It fools everybody!

Looking back to the house

The garden is made up of deep-beds with paths made up of crushed sea-shells. I don’t use weed-killer on these paths but hoe them all as and when. The hot, dry April is making it very hard to get the seeds going. I soak the row first before putting in the seeds hoping this gives them a head start but l am having to water every 2 or 3 days or else l would loose most things.

First showing of the peas

The peas are a bit slow emerging but l am sure they will be romping away now. In front l made a small sowing of lettuce ‘cut and come again’.

Bean poles

I have been soaking a load of willow over the past week or so and today l weaved some btween the bean poles to give the beans something extra to climb up and make the whole structure a bit stronger. Mrs Hunt finished off the other side and l have to say she made a far better job of it than l did! Did you know its National Bean Pole Week?

Catch crop of Lettuce

I planted up a catch-crop of lettuce in-between the bean poles. These will be ready by the time the beans have got to the top of the poles. It just uses up what would otherwise be a waste of good soil.

Broad Beans

The broad beans are flowering well and look set to provide a good crop but the leaves are being eaten by something. It’s not the dreaded blackfly so not sure what it is.

Early potatoes

The early potatoes l put in not so long ago keep appearing above the soil l earth up over them. I have almost run out of soil so they will now have to take their chance if there is a frost. My greenhouse is fit to bursting with courgettes, pumpkins, squash, runner beans and tomatoes that really need to be planted out but if there is a frost, and there well could be, l stand to loose the lot!

Sweet-pea wigwam

I made up this willow wigwam today as well. I planted a couple of cucumber plants either side and the rest will be planted up with Sweet Peas. This area still needs a lot of work as it is the herb garden and needs a lot of sorting out. The ground is really hard here so might wait until after it has rained.

The weekly jottings of Mr Middleton for the 4th week in April and the weeks of May were covered last year but l will be looking at the Dig for Victory leaflets and see what they have to tell us.I have been making some purchases on ebay over the past few weeks of old WW2 Dig for Victory memorabilia. There are some serious buyers out there and one small leaflet recently fetched nearly £70.00! More details on another post.

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2011 in April, The garden

 

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Filling the Salad Bowl

I have to share this timely snippet from Mr Middleton’s book written 70 years ago in 1941 ‘Your Garden in Wartime’:

April. Filling the Salad Bowl.

I hope you are having a good time with the seed packets, and not wasting too much time watching to see if the things are coming up. One of the first things l want to talk about today is the salad bowl. We are all interested in food values just now, and later on we shall all be eating beans and carrots and potatoes, and getting as fat as pigs if we are not careful. So to balance the diet, and keep ourselves fit, we are told we must eat plenty of green leaves, and we must eat them raw, not cooked, because cooking destroys some of the mysterious substances called vitamins which we hear so much about. There are several of them, and by all accounts they are very necessary and important, they help to digest the other food, keep your eyes bright and your complexion clear, and prevent your hair falling out. In fact, the vitamins do us more good and keep us in better health than a daily dose of medicine.

Mr Middleton goes on to say that most vitamins are found in green leaves and especially lettuce leaves stating ‘So if you want to keep fit, eat plenty of lettuce’. There is an element of truth in that even today l suppose but we know a lot more regarding our health and realise that lettuce leaves are not a magic ‘cure all’! They contribute towards a healthy diet but exercise plays its part too, as he goes on in telling us how to grow them:

The first thing to remember about lettuces, and indeed all salads, is that we want crisp tender leaves, which means they must be grown quickly without checks or delays in good soil that does not get dry. You can’t grow nice tender lettuces on shallow, dry soil in the hot baking sun. Apart from that, they are very accommodating, you can grow them among the other crops alongside the celery trench, or in any odd corner so long as there is some good soil there….the way to keep up a nice, steady supply is to make very small sowings, just a short row, about once a week from now till the middle of August….you can sow the seed sparingly in drills, half an inch deep, and thin them out when they come up to nine inches apart, or you can sow them on the seed-bed and transplant them when ready.


Some of the old varieties he suggests trying are: cabbage types: Trocadero, Continuity, and Commodore Nutt and cos or tall varieties: Balloon Giant White and Jumbo. I haven’t come across these varieties but perhaps a heritage seed company still stocks them.

He tells us that ‘ the main thing with lettuces, and all other salads, is not to let them get too dry. I don’t believe in watering vegetables as a rule, but salads are different, you can’t get tender, juicy leaves if the roots are dry’.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2011 in April, The garden

 

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April She Comes

Mr Middleton says: Do not sow runner beans out of doors until the lilac is in bloom.

APRIL-1st WEEK

1. Support Peas.- Twigs provide the best support and should be inserted as soon as the seedlings show. For peas that are planted out, supports are put in immediately. Push them in firmly and keep them vertical or leaning slightly inwards. Allow at least 6 in. over the advertised height of the variety. Trim the twigs lightly with hedge shears to give a neat appearance.

4. Start New Compost Heap.– The compost heap, to which you have been adding all the winter, should be completed now, so that it will be throughly decayed by the autumn and can be used to dig in. A new heap should be started to take the summer rubbish.

5. Plant Out Onions.

6. Sow Long-Rooted Carrots.– Long-rooted carrots such as St.Valery, can now be sown. They need a long season to get the best from them.

The Governments April edition of The Allotment & Garden Guide also tells us that spring is here and its action stations!

Even yesterday it felt like winter here with a stiff NW wind making it unpleasant to be out in the garden. But today looks and feels like spring is really here. Blue skies, warm sunshine, no wind…hooray, the birds are all singing and the first swallows were seen last week;  its going to be a joy being out there. So no time like the present, l’m off to catch up with all the sowing  l have been putting off over the past few weeks. I may be some time!

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2010 in April, The garden

 

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