Howsoever, although I'm on holiday this month, we're into our second week of 36º or thereabouts, which just knocks me sideways, so I'm sitting here posting some pics of the terrace that's too hot to go out on between 10 and 8 - but such a pleasure outside those hours! This is s what currently occupies my thoughts most days, and also those nights when it's too hot and sultry to sleep.
It's like having a new baby in the house: Are the plants ok? Have they got enough water? Too much water? Do they need more mulch? Space? Repotting? Do they need feeding? Moving? Pruning? That pleasurable if slightly neurotic state of having something utterly precious and rewarding in your care. Last year, everything drowned in April, fried in early May, and then drowned again. Peppers, cucumbers, baby leaves, everything. I was utterly deflated. Then in November, up popped splendid purple leaves, and I realised that the baby leaves were very much alive - and they continued to flourish right through the mild winter, and into the long, cold, wet spring we've had this year.
So with renewed optimism, and a lot more determination, I'm having another go this year. At the beginning of May, I sowed sunflowers, spinach, green and red peppers, cucumbers, aubergines, peas, pumpkins, coriander, parsley and sage. Lovely.
Seeds? Check. List? Check. Cuppa? Check.
Perfect weather for getting elbow deep in compost and seeds.
Yup. Lovely weather for it.
A few nights later the night temperature dropped to 1º. Deep sulks out there under the compost. A fortnight later, when there was still no sign of life from the peppers, beans and cucumbers, I sowed some more seeds on top of the apparently defunct ones. Another fortnight later, and everything except the beans and cucumbers was coming up nicely.
A small dream fulfilled - a fig tree of our own.
Six Raf tomato plants, which I am assured have the best flavour of any tomato.
A first brave bean pushing up to the light, still wearing its little pink seed casing.
And the spinach!
pumpkin action - and the sunflower seedlings in the background,
bean seedlings coming up - with a sprinkling of alfalfa for company,
abundant baby leaves
and two pea plants - fingers crossed because 3 out of 4 plants died last year, and I think the total harvest was six pods. This year, out of at least a dozen seeds, two have germinated.
and another new baby - an olive tree. Spain, innit?
Now, it's all go, but despite heavy-handed applications of Neem - an eco-friendly pesticide (today's oxymoron) I've got a big problem with woolly aphids - didn't realise earlier cos the larvae look more like fine dandruff particles than any living thing.
Beans... First one up, first one down. :(
But here's another beanie.
A ladybird on one of the sunflowers! Boy, could we do with more of her right now!
and this, on May 1st,
with plenty of water,
a terrace full!
But it's bloody hot!
And there's still the question of
these!!! My lovely spinach! The dandruffy things on the leaftops confused me, but with the camera I spotted the big grey mamas and papas on the undersides. Feck! They're everywhere!