raspberryfool: (Gardening)
Hey LJ, this year's growing season is well underway. I've planted out four rows of about 25 to 30 mangetout pea plants (you do the maths!)—two each of two heritage varieties. The plants I started in February are now climbing their canes, and last weekend I planted another row of each, germinated a month later. This should stagger the season and avoid a glut; I'll start another row of each around May for planting out in June.

This year I chose Désirée for my maincrop potatoes again. I don't want to let last year's disappointing results sully my view of this fine variety. This time tey're in Midusmmer plot, which has some of the best soil in my garden. The garlic in West seems to be doing ok, but I don't think it likes being in heavy clay. West is always a difficult plot to work; it's full of clay which I suspect the housing developers backfilled after stealing the good stuff to sell. If I get another disappointing crop from there I'm going to turf it over. Life's too short!

My major project this year, the tomato tent, is now under construction using some 4' poles, long garden canes and some old hosepipe (sorry Dad!) to build a temporary, polytunnel-like structure. I'd love to have a proper polytunnel, but the cost and the permanency are major obstacles and the temporary nature of my structures makes crop rotation much easier to achieve.

It's really gratifying to see plenty of bumblebees, and some honey bees, visiting my garden. The flowering currant bushes, forsythia and primroses seem to be popular nectar plants. I noticed a bumblebee pollinating the gooseberry flowers today; they have such insignificant-looking flowers that I've never really paid much attention to before! I've seen several butterflies around too; it makes my neighbours' gardens seem like green deserts in comparison!

Talking of bees, the other day in a local park I saw some tiny mounds of earth looking rather like ants' nests, but with a single, large hole at the summit. I've noticed these in previous springs, but it was only this week that I was privileged enough to watch one of the nests' inhabitants, a solitary bee emerging to investigate some daisies. I wonder how many other visitors to this busy, popular recreation ground notice these wonders of nature beneath their feet. How wonderful!