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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

What a difference a drop of rain makes

We are really getting on with planting now, with only cucumbers, melons, peppers, aubergines, okra and squash to plant out. The rain has worked wonders on what is already in, though the soil is a nightmare to work when soft, it sticks to everything. The tomatoes went in yesterday and have been covered for a couple of days. My neighbours may laugh at my small plants, but watching Angel behind us planting his out today they look rather lanky where mine are short and stocky (not sure who I am trying to convince!) I have put rather a lot in, but you never know what the season will bring, and while in the UK it was a hobby, growing them here means a good stock of canned, dried and sauced tomatoes which means there will always be a meal available.
Tomatoes under cover

We have been making a big effort to get those pesky weeds under control, they love the rain too. Unfortunately most is being done by hand as the claggy soil is no good for a hoe, and things like onions need hand weeding anyway. But we can at least see where the carrots and beetroot are coming up.
More late planted onions, garlic, beetroot and carrots. No idea if any parsnipe have germinated, but won't weed in case...
The over wintered onions and garlic, which looked a bit sick before the rain. Now looking good

The potatoes have been a bit of a disappointment. A few more than half have come up and been earthed up twice. The strawberries and rhubarb are flourishing with the extra moisture, and lettuce needs to be given away now as they are in peak condition and will soon go to seed. The beans have broken through today, two types of runner, a climbing French and Bulgarian yellow. Spinach and chard is growing and peas and broad beans flowering.
Hopefully some potatoes will be ok

Rhubarb growing well now

Strawberries, plenty of flowers

Peas and broad beans. The sweetcorn has been planted beyond these

Beans coming through
Frilly and butterhead at their peak....

Iceberg hearting up well

All the fruit trees have set masses of fruit and it looks as if it will be a good year again. Even the grape vines look as if they will bear fruit this year if the emerging flowers are anything to go by. The roses are budding too. All very exciting.
Grape vine

Tidy garden

Embryo peach

Rose bud
Cherry toms in trough.....

and flowers, all along the wall, doing OK

Of course there is another side to damp weather. There are a lot more insects emerging. As well as flies and biting things, wasps are trying to find places for new homes and ants are abundant, all over everything. Snails have eaten my peppers in the greenhouse again despite all the salt I have thrown about. Dave's dahlias have gone in ringed with a mixture of diatomaceous earth and crushed eggshells, the same will be going round the beans now they have emerged. Today I have seen the first active, large grasshopper and numerous black crickets, no doubt wanting a munch on my precious plants.

Ants on the peony
This sprayed something at Bonnie

This sprayed something at Bella

In the chicken city Cagney is proving a good attentive mother and has now managed a good half hour in the bath without having to see to the kids. The others are keeping their distance, only a couple of ex-batts have been foolish enough to challenge her. She has gone for Dave a fair bit, which is funny as he is only trying to help.

The latest batch of hens enjoying the sun, they have now learned to scratch and bathe

Next batch of youngsters

Of course there is always one getting lost. It is right by it's pop hole but can't see it!

The maran chicks and first two shumen chicks are now pretty much integrated into the flock. There is plenty of space and nooks and crannies where they can get out of the way, and a bolt hole into their indoor pen for when they have had enough. The next batch are already going out for a while with it being so warm. With all these youngsters running about they are being largely ignored as there is no novelty. Ideally they would have their own run I suppose, so they could just have chick food, but they are fed before and after going out and they can get in for food. We want them to go to new homes as soon as possible so if they are used to adult hens, all the better.

Dave's goslings have hatched, so cute, and their owners are now worrying about how to catch them as Dad, Gordon, is very protective, even having a go at the donkey. Good luck in that B&S, rather you than me!


  1. You and Dave are so busy, I bet you sleep like babies at night! I can imagine how much work a garden is. I have never done a vegetable garden, but my husband plants a few things every year. Mostly peas, beans and potatoes. And you have an entire line of new bugs to figure out! Best of luck to you on that. We have finally warmed up a bit. Wettest February and March on record and April has been wet also. Let's hope the summer is nice. I could use some sun. Take care. Tana

    1. Hi Tana, you would think sleep would not be a problrm wouldn't you? And there is no doubt we go out like lights, but I am a worrier and tend to wake in the night and think too much and at those times little worries always seem HUGE, then wake up goggy in the morning and wonder what the fuss was. Silly but true. However, at least we don't have to go to work!

      Although we had a small garden in the UK where I did the nice bits (planting and growing) and Dave did the heavy bits, it was tiny and we have never planted a quarter acre of food plants before. It has gone relatively smoothely so far, but with this climate there are plenty of critters looking to share or destroy our crops which the Bulgarians control with sprays but we are as organic as we can be. But as we were lucky to have a mild, dry winter, we are now benefitting from a warm, unusually damp spring. Ideal for both plants (including weeds!) and critters.