It was a truly gorgeous day today - one of those March days that really gives you hope that not only has Spring sprung, it's intending to hang about for a while too. Just a perfect day for getting some work underway ready for a productive year from our pocket handkerchief of a garden. The actual veg patch space we have is tiny - less than 2m x 2m - so we have to plan carefully for growing as much additional stuff in containers of one sort or another as we can. It also means that we can't really grow too much stuff that requires a lot of space - the room we have has to work hard and everything gets crammed in at far closer quarters than the seed packets demand! Anyway - first time for a little look at what is growing elsewhere...
... Ladybirds, it would seem! We always get a lot at the start of the spring, but this year we seem to be absolutely over-run with them! All good though, they eat lots of the pests that will make a nuisance of themselves otherwise. The other thing we have masses of is worms - we relieved my parents of a tub-full from their compost bin a few months ago, and by all accounts the little chaps are thriving on their diet of rather more citrus peel and onion trimmings than they are meant to like!
The first few flowers are showing themselves too - the pulmonaria above is looking as healthy as it ever has, and the bee on the left of the picture seems to be appreciating it too! I love this plant - we got a small plant from Auntie D's garden not long after we first moved here, popped it in a relatively shady spot, and away it went - the flowers come in all colours from pale pink through to deep blue, via various shades of mauve, and it flowers for months, too! The other bright spot was finding a good amount of new leaf breaking on our Clematis - we've struggled for years with keeping these alive - this one has now come through its second winter with us and appears to be doing well.
Anyway, time to get those seeds in. As usual we have planted a few of lots of different things. Leeks - sown in the traditional toilet roll centres - sown 2/3 to a tube. Those tubes will be planted directly into the ground as and when (if?!) the seedlings come through, and we probably won't thin them much either. Some Courgettes - "Eight Ball" - a round one that we know from experience has compact plants and prolific fruits. If those come up OK they will go into the flower bed side, where they should be fine. Some peppers - Cayenne for heat and Californian Wonder for sweetness. These will end up in pots, and will probably stay on the wall where they will get as much sunshine as possible and reflected warmth from the brickwork. Tomatoes - Alicante & Gardeners Delight. Again, these will get put into containers - of all shapes and sizes. Some large plant pots we got from Ben's Mum, a tub of the sort that mushrooms are wholesaled in which we found, an old bird-food bucket..... The trough has assorted salad type stuff in it, mustard greens, oriental leaves, and rocket. As an experiment some Aubergines - we had the seeds, so decided to give them a go.
We planted some flowers too - Nasturtiums which cross the barrier between food and flower so far as we're concerned - the leaves are just delicious added to a burger, even better if it's a cheseburger, and the blooms not only taste good, but look beautiful in a salad. Then sweet peas - anything that we can use to climb up our slightly boring railings at the front of the flats just has to be good, so we always grow those. Plus they smell glorious and are wonderful as cut flowers, too. Then finally three of our rather lovely blue china pots planted with a mix of all sorts of random things from the bottom of the seed box - pansies, violas, lobelia and more. We suspect most of those won't come up - some of them were incredibly old so the odds are against it, but we'll see!