Sunday, 24 May 2009

Sometimes things don't go to plan

With the glorious weather this weekend you'd think I'd be full of the joys of spring but sadly not everything is growing well at the moment. It started on Friday when I decided I ought to take my gardening club seedlings home from school for the half term break rather than leave them to an inevitable thirsty death. A bit like taking the school hamster home for the holidays! But when I went to collect them I discovered that all the cucumber seedlings had been systematically beheaded by slugs and snails. Not only that, but the little blighters had chewed off the sticky labels off the sides of the yoghurt pots and now I had to wonder which pot contained which seed. A big, fat snail sat on the side of one pot so I vented my anger on it and crushed it under foot. We're not allowed to use slug pellets at school (not even the organic ones!) and quite honestly blind hope isn't particularly affective! So I gathered together the surviving bean, tomato and sweetcorn seedlings and which ever pots looked as if they might still contain ungerminated seeds and took them home for a slug and snail free holiday.

Then yesterday we went out to the allotment as a family and rushed straight to our new pond to discover that someone had found it amusing to throw bricks into it! So the first few minutes was spend removing bricks, straighting out the surrounding rocks and generally trying to put things right. But the mini water lily had completely disappeared but worse still is wondering whether it will happen again.

Looking around the plot, it seems our new asparagus has failed to take. Steve is particularly disappointed about this after the amount of effort he put into preparing the bed. It is too late now to replace the crowns this year so it'll have to wait until next. There is also very little sign of the beetroot germinating, despite a second sowing. And for some reason my sweet corn seedlings are dying back.

Deep breath... all is not lost and much is growing and I'm not the type to dwell on the negative. Seven strawberries were ripe this weekend and I fed these treats to my children. I have never known strawberries to be ready so early - it's not even June yet! And I have two tomatoes just about ripe in the conservatory. They are not very big, as Steve pointed out, but, hey, they are ready in May - we've never had that before.

So I spent some time on the plot this weekend getting intimate with the carrots and parsnips, painstakingly hand weeding between the seedlings. It is a good idea to do this and remove the weeds before they become big and difficult to remove without disturbing the carrots and parsnips. It is also relaxing and therapeutic and it really gives you a close up view of the seedlings. I'm pleased to say that the carrot germination has been good but better still, temperamental parsnip seeds have germinated well too so we should have a good crop in the winter.

Then I helped the girls plant out a couple of beans each, some sunflowers and some sweetcorn seedlings. I have also spent a good deal of my time watering the pour plants as they wilted in the intense sunshine!

There is still time to resow some cucumbers, sweetcorn and beetroot. I'm not defeated.

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