Garden update Monday 8 April

Sometimes, you just have to make a sacrifice. And you have to think about smart planting.

Now I’m not talking lamb at the altar or anything like that! I noticed in the greenhouse the other day that one of my Pak Choi seedlings had been nibbled. It was clearly a nibble and not just damaged by accident.

Nibbled seedling
Nibbled Pak Choi seedling

Most of the seedlings were untouched. Despite checking each pot I was unable to find the culprit. So I decided to make a sacrifice. I would leave this pot in situ, and move the other seedlings elsewhere to, hopefully, escape the hungry creature.

This morning the sacrificial seedling had been nibbled even more. The creature must be hiding in this pot! I still could not find it, however.

All the other seedlings that I moved elsewhere looked fine. So, I come to the conclusion that the nibbler was isolated to this one pot.

Healthy Pak Choi seedling
Healthy Pak Choi seedling

Growing pains and smart planting

There are occasions where you actually grow a crop specifically to draw creatures away from other crops. Nasturtium, for example, is great to grow with beans as they attract blackfly away from your precious food.

Another way to deter pests is to grow plants together than repel each others pests. A good example of this is onions and carrots. When grown together the onions repel or confuse the carrot fly, and the carrots repel or confuse the onion fly.

I firmly believe that for every problem in nature, there is an answer in nature. This way you negate the need for nasty chemicals in your growing space. We can only benefit by not ingesting these hideous things. If you lose a seedling or two, or your nasturtiums take the brunt of a hungry fly, you will be safe in the knowledge that the only thing you have put in your body is the goodness of that treasured plant.

Elsewhere in the garden

All the other seedlings are coming along nicely, including lettuce, spinach, calendula, sunflowers, peas, tomatoes, busy lizzies, nasturtiums. The list seems short but the space is filling up. There will be some potting on and planting out happening soon. Mid April is also the time (in my area) to plant seed potatoes. As a general rule of thumb, they can be planted about one month before the last expected frost date. In East Anglia that is the second week of May.

If you haven’t yet got your seed potatoes, there is still time. Many garden centres and supermarkets try to offload their stock of seed potatoes really cheaply now. You might pick up a bargain!

I will also be sowing some carrots soon, outdoors in pot. I have a method for this which means that you do not have to sow more seeds than you need, and therefore do not have to thin the seedlings out. It seems so wasteful to do this. Admittedly you do get a lot of seeds in a packet but with succession sowing you will have plenty and may have some to save for next year.

Now the weather is warmer it feels like all stations go right now, but oh the eating to come in just a few short months. All that extra sun helps to keep my mood afloat, and allows the body to manufacture its own vitamin D.

Exciting times!