Greenfingers - May 2018

It’s early April as I write this, and as we crawl out of winter into a reluctant Spring, it’s difficult to remember gardening in dry soil under a warm sun. But by May, hopefully, this will be the case. All the gardens we have visited over the last few weeks have suffered from the long winter, growth running 2-3 weeks behind the average. We heard our first chiff-chaff on 29th March last year, but this year we have yet to hear one by 9th April.

AppleCordons

On one visit, an impressive row of apple trees grown as cordons against a wall and exhibiting exemplary pruning formed an impressive display (pictured above). You can see how far apart these are planted by counting the bricks, far closer than standard trees could be planted, and therefore suitable for a small garden. Pollination is also good, with several plants in close proximity, and harvesting is very straightforward.

Cosmos and zinnia seeds planted in a heated propagator have shot away over a couple of days, and the seedlings are looking rather leggy, so have been removed to a light, cool position, but protected from frost. The propagator is a good way to start seeds off, and is now full of tomato and mange tout seeds. A tray of 6 plugs of chilli peppers were bought rather than a pack of seeds, and these have been planted on into pots. (The freezer still holds many peppers from last year’s crop, grown from seed [Numex Twilight] bought at the Stroud Community Seed Bank).

If the sky is clear on 17th May, the 2 day old moon will be visible close to Venus after sunset low in the west, and Jupiter is well placed for observation this month, with several of its moons visible through binoculars.
Pete Smith