Well what a difference a week makes....the sun has been out for 4 days and it feels like spring has arrived compared to the wind , rain , snow and rubbish that was coming from the sky for months. Normally the second half of April and May tend to be the real sowing , planting time and we all need to get a wriggle on as we have lost time due to the weather.
I planted my seed potatoes on the 19th April ( 3 weeks later than last year )...about 35cm apart in the rows with each row 90cm apart. Rather than dig a trench about 20cm deep I have a tool which looks like a giant napkin ring on a stick. I just place the ring on the ground , stamp my foot on the top of it , twist it and pull out a big plug of soil into which I put some potato fertiliser and the the spud . Cover with soil and mound up over the area with more garden compost. As it grows continue to earth up soil over the area to protect the greenery from frosts and stop the tubers coming to the surface and going green and inedible. I am growing Lady Christyl first earlies , Marfona second earlies and Blue Belle main crop spuds. Spuds keep really well if kept in the cool ( not frosty ) and dark. We ate last years spuds right up until beginning of April this year.
If you haven't already get your favourite herbs growing in seed modules or small pots. Seed compost , warmth , water and light ( once they have germinated ) is all you need - basil , sage , chervil, chives , parsley, coriander all treated the same way...just keep the temperature at 15c minimum and water them with tap water. Pot on into bigger pots mid May or plant out into your border or big pots. Keep drainage a priority.
This year I am trying to grow ginger , from tubers and lemon grass from whole shoots bought in the shop ( choose stems with a bulge at the base from where the roots will sprout rather than ones that have been cut from above the crown). Find a finger of ginger that has some growing points on it...point buds that look a little like a rhino horn. Plant the finger with buds facing up in a rich compost with plenty of sand or perlite to help drainage and plenty of heat. Hot , moist soil will work with plenty of light. Pot on into big pots as they sprout...best kept in a greenhouse if you have one, if not in a sheltered sunspot. With a good summer and long autumn we should have plenty on ginger rhizomes and lemon grass shoots to add to our curries. Give it a go ..it's something different.
May is also the time to start off our tender seeds like Melon , sweet corn, squash , courgettes, cucumbers , French and runner beans. Plant big seeds on their side in 7.5cm pots full of moist seed compost and do not be tempted to plant out before 3rd week in May earliest !!! Or a cold snap will have your hard work and there will be casualties.
General housekeeping remains the same....keep on top of weeds, look after the soil by adding new garden compost and add grow more fertiliser or chicken pellets or fish, bone and blood fertiliser. In dry periods water the crops , especially carrots , parsnips and spuds - people just don't do this , I don't know why.
I still have more Thyme plants than I know what to do with so if you want any contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and give growing something a go , even if it is lettuces and radishes
Happy times ,
Every month I will give a short update on what to be doing in your veggie patch. No matter how small a front or back garden, you can grow something edible in pots, tubs or beds. Don't worry about lettuce shortages because of the rain in Spain (tee hee) just sow your own.