April Showers – a Gardener’s Delight? – by Karen Ashton

I have been known to do a spot of gardening in the rain so April showers don’t bother me in the slightest.  However, back to back April downpours, forget it!

Before the rain settled in I managed to get the compost bins sorted out for the year.  Ok, not an exciting task, but none the less an important one for the garden.  We have two compost bins and every year I empty bin 1 and use the contents for mulching the garden borders.  The contents of bin 2 are then transferred into the now empty bin 1, which is then topped off and left for another year.  This now leaves an empty bin 2 ready to be filled and starts the cycle again.  The compost bin generally gets filled with green waste from the garden, including grass clippings, tea bags and vegetable peelings from the kitchen and the old bedding from the guinea pigs cage for brown waste.  Cardboard and shredded paper can also be used so long as the mix in the bin has the correct ratio of green to brown waste.  An incorrect ratio can make the compost too dry or too wet and smelly, but can be easily rectified.  Two years later I have a free soil improver to put nutrients back into the garden soil.

Karen's Compost

It is also the time of year when a little lawn care is required.   Our lawn is by no means a bowling green, but we try to keep it healthy enough to fend off the majority of weeds and moss.  All I have managed to do so far is to get some weed and feed down, this had a few days to get working before the rain set in.  Once the weather fines up again the lawn will need to be scarified with a lawn rake to remove all the dead moss and thatch, then random holes about an inch deep will be made with a fork all over the lawn to relieve compaction.  Gritty sand will then be brushed into the holes to assist with drainage.  The lawn will look a bit of mess for a while, but in the long run it will be better for it.   By all accounts this is a great workout for the body, and it really does get the blood pumping.  Who needs a gym when you have a garden!

The greenhouse is starting to fill up with small plants that were sown from seed last autumn as well as those which have been sown in the last couple of months.  Whilst the mangetout are waiting for the weather conditions to improve in order to be planted out into the kitchen garden, it is looking like the peas that were sown direct may have drowned as there has been no sighting of them so far!  We have also been able to eat some of the spinach beet and spring onions that were sown in the greenhouse border on a trial basis last year.  Encouraging results mean that I will try this again this coming autumn.

Seedlings - coming on strong

 

Spring Onions, a successful trial run this year

Whilst pottering around the garden this last weekend I came face to face with a baby blackbird, before it scurried behind the water butt to hide.  It was obvious from its appearance that it was too young to be out of its nest, its tail and wing feathers had not fully formed, in fact it had no tail at all!  The blackbird eventually came out from hiding and with several attempts managed to get itself up into the hedge at the back of the garden.  Within about half an hour the blackbirds parents had located the baby and for the remainder of the day stayed close by, taking it things to eat.  It is times like these that make you smile and glad that you garden with nature in mind.

Spot the Black Bird

 This post was compiled by Karen Ashton, Client Manage at Balance Accountants

 

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