Sunday, 29 April 2012

Last year and this year

This is how my greenhouse was looking on 4th May last year. I'm not even going to attempt to go out and take a photo today, but as you can imagine, things look rather different this year. I can hardly believe that this time last year, I had already planted everything into their final pots, and everything looks at least 10 times as big as it does this year.

This year, most of my tomato and chilli seedlings (it would be pushing it to describe them as plants just yet) are huddled in the conservatory, trying to keep warm enough to continue growing. I did have them out in the greenhouse, but they were not doing anything. The few things I can't quite fit into the conservatory are zipped up inside the placky greenhouse or inside the coldframe, both within the greenhouse, but they are still not warm enough. According to the thermometer it went down to about 3 degrees last night.  I sowed all my squash/cucumber/courgette seeds about a week and a half ago, but as yet, no sign of germination. I should have waited. When, oh when, are we going to get some nice warm growing weather?

Down on the plot, things are just about ticking over. I sowed some spinach, chard and lettuces a few weeks ago and they are looking pretty sorry for themselves. I have also sowed some beetroot, but I can't really see anything that is definitely a beetroot seedling yet. Even the weeds are struggling slightly! On the plus side, my bee-friendly flower seedlings are doing fine, and the first early potatoes have come through. I also spotted  parsnip seedlings yesterday. I pre-chitted the seed, which I think helps a lot.

I am trying to drum up some support and enthusiasm at the Allotment Association for bee and biodiversity-friendly schemes. Another committee member is quite keen to sow some flower areas, and I have the task of organising a talk on the subject at our allotment open day during National Allotment Week. I have e-mailed the local Friends of the Earth group but no reply as yet. If anyone has any ideas about who I could contact, please let me know.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust

As gardeners, you will probably be well aware of the danger that bumblebees, and other bees are currently in. Their numbers are in serious decline and this is due in large part to modern, intensive farming methods. Although there are now various schemes starting up to try and conserve and look after bee populations, they still need a lot of help. If you would like to play your part, and help to support the vital research into this problem, joining the Bumblebee Conservation Trust is one way in which you can. You can also buy gift memberships for other people. Or if you would prefer to help without joining the trust, you can do so if you shop at Amazon. Click through to Amazon via and Amazon will donate 8% of the price of whatever you purchase to the Trust.

When you join you will receive a welcome pack containing a poster of all the bumblebee species, a car sticker, enamel badge, pack of bee-friendly seed, and lots of useful information about the Trust's activities, and ways in which you can make your garden or allotment an attractive and safe haven for bees and other pollinating insects.