I almost had a bit of an argument with my son yesterday morning.
"It's Mothers Day Mum. That means a day off - no computer, no work and no gardening". Number one and number two I could almost go along with, but number three.... No Gardening....I'd planned an entire day. It was to be the nicest day of the year and I'm starting to feel like I've been cooped up for weeks. I could see I would need to do a bit of negotiating here...
"Aaah, Truffles - thank's guys, my favourites, and lovely flowers AND a cup of tea (our nine year old has just learned how to make a brew and offers all the time so we're making the most of it) and you've all made such lovely cards too." The three of them had gone to a lot of trouble and were so excited about giving their presents as they bounced all over the bed in anticipation. "Oops, mind the tea....now about that day not gardening....." It's amazing what children will do for chocolate before breakfast - wonder where they get it from?
And so with middle daughter as my helper for the day, after breakfast we set to work, leaving Dad to sleep in.
My helper really enjoyed the pricking out and her fingers were small enough to do it well. We then went on to sow lots more: Basil, aubergines, marigolds, chilli's, sweet peppers, squashes and courgettes - I'll be growing all of these in the polytunnel later this year.
I'm still getting the hang of my tunnel. Last year I grew summer crops that wouldn't be hardy enough to grow well outside here - aubergine, peppers, chillis, tomatoes, melon and cucumber. Following the one day workshop I went on at Irish Seedsavers last November I now realise tunnels have SO much more potential. This year I'll try and keep crops growing all year round - it makes sense that it should pay it's way in the garden. However, it's keeping me on my toes when it comes to planning the crop rotation in there. After a few days of sunny weather the shallots, garlic (both taken from crops harvested last year), mangetout and broad beans have all had a growth spurt and I've tucked in a row of shallots behind the legumes. The central bed has been raked, fertilised and prepared in readiness for its new crops, and another patch of early carrots have been sown.
Then on to the outside. Ian's done a fantastic job widening and digging over the beds over the past week and after lunch we got to work on the onion patch. I finally managed to plant some organic shallots (Red Sun I think - must check with Highbank), garlic (Arno) and onions (Setton), with some corriander (Santos) at the end of the row to encourage the hoverflies into the garden.
The big surprise of the day was how dry everything is. We had to water the onion patch prior to sowing and we're struggling to remember when it last rained. I think the forecast is for rain all day on Thursday...typical - the day my mum and dad arrive for their first visit in three years. We think they'll notice a few changes.