Sunday, 26 September 2010

spring planting weekend has been the first properly warm herald to spring.  It's not thin, winter sunlight, it's warm rich sunlight.  I took advantage of it today to do some important yard work, and found myself sweating and having to stop for a water break!  I'm sure we'll have more cold spells before the summer, but it's so wonderful to have a bit of warmth after a long cold winter.  Although I'm not appreciating the cabbage white butterflies that area already flitting about, eying my last broccoli plant.

First I planted out some strawberries that my work colleague gave me in return for some tomato seedlings.  I thought long and hard about where to put them - do I give up a precious pot?  Do I have any suitably sunny place for them that isn't in a pot?  Finally I decided to plant them on the north side of one of my cumquat bushes.  I know that citrus are greedy feeders and don't like competition at their roots.  But it's not like I eat these cumquats!  I more struggle to keep them compact.  Both the strawbs and the cumquats will enjoy rich compost and fertilizer, so we'll see how they go.  The strawbs should also enjoy the warmth from the flagstones. the main project this weekend was to plant my tomatoes!  I finished off the last of the Chinese broccoli (yum) and skimmed off about two buckets of old potting mix into the compost bin.  I knew the soil would need a good refreshing for heavy-feeding tomatoes.  I'm glad I dug right down to the bottom of the planter, because I found the bottom layer of soil was just starting to get a bit compacted and waterlogged.  I mixed a bit of sand in at the bottom to help with drainage, then mixed in a few buckets of manure mix and some of my worm casings, as well as fertilizer pellets.  Then I used our new cordless drill to get last year's wood frame into shape.  Having a good drill makes all the difference, it went together like a snap this year.  I still need long cross-beam supports to keep the stakes from bending in at the top, but that can wait.

I planted an Oregon Spring on the right, it should stay fairly compact and make smallish red tomatoes.  On the left is a broad ripple yellow currant tomato, it'll likely get very large and sprawly but it should have lots of yellow cherry tomatoes.  And just there in the doorway you can see Percival surveying his territory! I couldn't resist getting a snap of my clivia even though they're not quite blooming yet.  Last year only the one on the far left bloomed, this year all three have blossoms coming in.  And the little begonias I planted last summer have survived the whole winter without complaint, so I reckon I'll just leave them be for this summer.

I love the spring!