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Homeschool Garden Club – The Start of Spring

Spring has slowly started to be sprung here on my hill. The snow drops have been out for a while and the daffodils are putting on a good show right now.

Once they have gone over I will be out snipping off the spent flower heads so they can put their energy back in to the flower show next year.

The ornamental cherry trees planted along the strip of grass between the paving and roadside are gloriously doing their thing in bright pinks and pristine whites. The buds on the crab apple trees are just about to bust. They are big, round, green dots that can be seen even if you are driving past, but haven’t quite opened up. The lovely camellia is in bloom.

As the dawn chorus gets loader and earlier, I was woken up by it at 6.00am this morning with a robin singing his heart out.

We can feel the weather is staying overcasts and a bit chilly with a few warmer days. Spring will officially start this week with the equinox and we will soon start to see the return of our migrating birds. One to look out for over the next few weeks are the Swallows. Swallows are summer visitors to the UK. They start to arrive here from Africa in very shortly. By early June most swallows have started breeding and by July, the first brood of young has usually left the nest and flown away. The parents will normally then go on to raise a second brood, sometimes even a third.

As I have been taking my breaks in the garden, this week, I have noticed a large number of single bumble bees, still drowsy from the cold haphazardly flying around the garden. One got caught in the rain and was was struggling to dry out at the edge of the puddle on the path. So, I scooped it up and put it in a sheltered spot out of the wind but still able to get some sun on its wings. I went to get my phone to take a snap, but by the time I came back - it had gone. So, I have snapped the primroses that have been attracting a lot of attention.

Some garden visitors, who are on my personal unitive list, are the slugs and snails and I will be looking for the help of the nematodes pretty soon as the ground warms up and I want to plant out my seedlings. I found big fat one in the waterbutt pipe line, when I was looking for the reason why it was over flowing. I have cleaned the whole thing out and hopefully that will be the end of the matter there. I have also found evidence of the pests else where, my tulips have been nibbled before it has even flowered.

I have a very long list of things to start sowing at the moment. I will be personally planting up this week: Brussels Sprouts, cabbages and parsnips (for the Christmas dinner challenge). Peppers and chillies (for swopping) along with two varieties of tomatoes; yellow Mini F1 and Rosella, a unique pink cherry tomato. If anyone has any different varieties of tomatoes and would like to swop - please let me know. I will also be planting up celery, spring onions, lettuces, calabrese, more onions and herbs including parsley. On the flower front, I will be planting red and white Cosmos and golden French marigolds. Let me know what you are sowing this week!

I have fallen a bit behind with the sowing of seeds because the weather forecast has been poor and the weather has been quite cold, my cold frame is full and we are falling over the trays inside.

One of the thing I can't help notice in these photos, is the fact that it is time to start weeding again. I don't mind hand weeding, it is a sort of a mindful activity for me. I have to focus on what I am doing when weeding between the garlic, onions and rhubarb. I have also noticed that a number of sycamore seedlings that have already germinated in my garden. This week's count was remarkable lower than last year so I feel I am more on top of things already this year.

I am also, finally, digging the pond out and that is taking its time. I seem to have picked the stoniest place in the garden and it is hard work. One, because the of the stones and two because I am trying very hard to stay true to the low-cost ethos we have. I have sieving the stones from the soil. The Soil is going in to the vegetable patch to even out some levels. The stones I am holding back. I will wash these off before adding them back in to the pond. Yes, I could just dig the hole, ship the soil and stones to the local recycling facility and buy in more top soil for the vegetables and some already washed stones for the ponds but this way nothing leaves my garden and nothing gets brought in - which is far more sustainable. The exercise involved in doing all this, is a bonus!

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