Friday, 9 May 2014

The Last Frost

The Last Frost

Last year the last Air Frost (Zero Deg C) we had was on the first of May and, although technically you can have a ground or grass frost even when the air temperature is above freezing this is uncommon and our field is relatively sheltered. This year our last frost was on the second of May and with the forecast being for rain for the next week ahead I feel it's worth taking the gamble and planting a few things out that are sensitive to frost. It is simply getting too late on in the year now to have much of a frost. The 10th of May is often considered the start of planting traditionally as well.

The green house is totally full with seed trays and I have already been putting pots outside but I started sowing seeds for runner beans and French beans a bit earlier this year in the hope of a warm end to spring, and because of this some plants are getting a bit pot bound and are suffering because the compost dries out too quick.

Even last year I sowed some runner bean seeds in the ground about now and they received a couple of days frost in the end of April / beginning of May and didn't suffer. With the forecast being what it is and the fact that it has been a very mild winter and spring I feel confident that now will be a good time to plant out. The young plants will get plenty of water from the rain and this will also save me hours of watering. 

The rain this week and next is very welcome since the last few weeks I have been watering the garden and greenhouse for about 2 hours at a time. Last year during the summer it was taking me an hour and a half in the summer watering new trees, fruit bushes and the onions and potatoes etc and the experimenting with mulch has shown how much less watering I will have this year, along with the longer hose pipe which means not having to walk up the garden 20 times! Half of the trees are now in their second year here and their third year of life so they will now have a good root system and will require less watering anyway. The new trees are closer to the house which will make it easier as well.

The water butts also make it far quicker to fill a watering can compared to a hose pipe since I can just dip them into the butt and lift out, 5 seconds compared to 30. May not be a lot but waiting for 30 seconds each time starts to feel like a lifetime when you do it over and over again.

One of the next jobs will be to fit guttering to the greenhouse and chicken shed, plus 2 new water butts for these. Once I have these in place a little piping and the chicken water can be automatically replenished and I'm hoping to drip feed the plants in the green house.   

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