THIS year, as in the last few years, we heard the call of the cuckoo recently. Its amazing to think that this bird has just made a journey here from North Africa.
As we as a family walked the lanes and fields surrounding our house we got to talking to many of our farming neighbours. Many commented on how pleasant and reassuring it is to hear the call of the cuckoo. Also on our walks we see again the cow parsley flowering on both sides of the laneway down to our house. It really is beautiful, and it is something we look forward to each year. All this has reinforced to me the benefit of the outdoors and shows how nature continues no matter what the current situation is.
The work in our garden continues also and we continue to see the rewards of previous work. We recently planted a variety of veg and have sown a lot of flower seeds.
We have planted onions sets recently. It is hoped that we will have a bumper crop of onions later in the year. Onion sets are small, immature onions whose development has been stopped. The onions are carefully stored in climate-controlled conditions until spring when they appear in the shops. I happened to have some in our shed that I bought a couple of months ago. For the beginner they have the benefit of being less fuss than growing from seed.
Because they’re already on their way and have more stored energy than seeds, sets get growing faster, are more disease resistant than seed and are easier to handle. If you’re late sowing then sets can save the day and can go in as late as the end of April.
However, there is far less choice of variety than with seeds, they are more expensive, don’t keep as well as seed grown and are more prone to bolting.
The latter is down to them being basically second year plants. Onions are biennials and their natural course is to grow from a seed to a plant and then into a dormant bulb in the first year. In the second year the energy from the bulb is used to form a large stalk and flowerhead which goes on to form seeds, starting the cycle again. We are keeping our onion sets watered in this dry weather.
With the help of pollinators, and especially bumblebees, the flowers on our fruit trees have ‘set’. This means that the flowers have been successfully pollinated by insects. We have a good crop growing on our Apple, Plum and Pear trees. We also have a good crop growing on our red current and strawberry plants. We planted a few raspberry plants this year but are not really expecting much of a crop.
We would be happier for the plants to just get established and put on some more growth.
Whatever it is you find yourself doing in the garden I wish you every success and good health for the future.