It's just over a year since we started renovating our vegetable garden and recommissioning the greenhouse. Looking back at the old photos (below left April 2019, below right, same place April 2018) shows just how much we have managed to achieve - and more importantly sustain. Have we finally got the weeds under control?
The first thing we did last year was to renew most of the edging boards around the beds and refresh the soil with a good dose of horse manure. The final thing we did over winter was to thin and lower the hedge at the bottom of the garden to let in more light. That then allowed us to construct a fourth bed in time to plant potatoes in late March and early April.
Both the onion sets and the garlic sets we planted in late September are doing well. The spring cabbages and brocolli are finally growing well after earlier being attacked by pests as yet unidentified. It was the first time we had attempted to grow anything over winter and I'm not sure we were entirely successful using the fleece protection. Despite our attempts to secure it against the wind it still flapped and flattened a row of onions and all my autumn sown peas. It also got very wet and froze to the plants. The other bed which had cloche like hoops faired better.
As an experiment I planted two strips of the same broad beans and peas in root trainers in the greenhouse at the same time I sowed the seeds outdoors.
All but two if the outdoor sown peas were lost and the beans only just survived, meanwhile despite the pots freezing up on one occassion the greenhouse plants thrived and much to my surprise came into flower by mid March. I moved them into a sheltered spot near the house at the end of March after I'd noticed a few active bumble bees. Concerned that the cold would kill them I provided some improvised protection against any overnight frosts using old duvets, pillows and even fibreglass insulation take up from the loft (but that's another story) and stuffed around pots in a cardboard box. Despite the flowers and the activity of the bees and now other insects, I'm not convinced there will be any beans to harvest. The first set of flowers has now withered but there are plenty more coming into bloom, so who knows. The peas are also still flowering.