Yesterday I heard the first cicada for the season. If I remember rightly I didn’t hear the first one last year until about the 17th of October. Perhaps they are early this year due to the warmer weather. Regardless, it was a reminder that I’ve been a little bit behind my usual routine this Spring. Normally I’ve already had seeds in seed raising mix or planted out well and truly by now, but this year there have been too many other things tugging at time. So eventually there comes a moment when I know I just have to get the job done. This year I’ve made my own seed raising mix. Not quite a measured effort.
Due to a small pair of helping hands eager to assist there were extra quantities added, so I ended up making a mix in much the same way I cook. Adding the ingredients until it feels and looks right. This years mix consisted of:
- coconut coir
- a blood and bone mix
- garden lime
- sand – heat treated time permitting
- some fine vermicompost from the very bottom of the worm farm
These were mixed into a very friable, water absorbent mix and then used in various containers depending on the seeds and plants required. It is usually a mix of small paper pots which I hand fold, seed raising trays and segmented trays. These were all made up when time permitted to allow me to sow seeds into the trays or pots later in the night once I’d worked out what I wanted to get started right away.
Within days some of the brassicas were already up. The corn was following in a mad rush. I anticipate that soon the tomtoes will be screaming up. In the meantime I collect horse manure where and when I can and have piled this around the place in various assemblies of compost piles, topping off compost bins, putting into containers with some dynamic lifter to let it sit while the seedlings grow.
Planning for the summer garden is a balance of left and right brain thinking. There is a really rough plan and a lot of intuition and observation. To make things interesting its a blend of:
- what are we going to want to eat this summer?
- what seeds do I need fresh seed of?
- what is the general weather conditions going to be?
- what will do best in these weather conditions?
- what plantings will make the garden different and interesting this year – for myself and visitors?
- what plant group will I focus on?
My prediction for this summer is for it to be extra hot and quite windy. So this summer the grape vine will once again be trained up and over the deck to create a ‘green room’ out of the deck and break the winds down a little so its still nice to sit out there and enjoy it.
Winds and heat mean extra water is going to be required and so there is some extra preparation I still need to do to make the most of our water plus make it easy to water.
So far I have managed to plant corn, tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, various brassica, beetroot, beans, fennel and peas.