The Gardening Calendar

I decided to plant some of my curcurbits today. These are all members of the pumpkin, squash, courgette and cucumber family. I have only just realised that the spooky thing is that it was on 18th April 2008 that I did the very same thing last year! I intend to plant them out towards the end of May when it will be certainly frost free and the ground will have warmed up some more.

Here I have planted some lovely 'Rouge Vif D'Etamps' pumpkin, Delicata squash, Yellow Straightneck squash and a 'Tiffany' all female F1 cucumber. I have left some spaces in the seed tray as I am hoping to receive some 'Queensland Blue' squash seeds from a fellow blogger in the next few days. I really love this seed-swapping lark with bloggers. If I have given seeds to someone it is such a thrill to know that they have grown them, and I really look forward to seeing pictures of them posted on other blogs.
I took a bit of a chance today in that I planted out just a few of my hardier tomato plants. It is still a bit early, but with some cloche protection I hope they will be OK. I have plenty of spares in the greenhouse still in case of disaster.
Which reminds me.... keeping free range chickens on the vegetable plot is not to be recommended. Whilst digging a big hole with a spade in which to plant my tomato, those two chickens just jumped into the hole to search for creepy crawlies and I nearly chopped one in half. Pesky critters!
Just a quick note on strawberry plant maintenance. They are growing well now, and earlier in the season I gave them a mulch and a feed of wood ash. It is important not to water strawberries at all until the fruit starts to swell. Strawberries have a very, very fine root system which hates being wet.
You can see here that the strawberry flowers are forming nicely and should be opening any day now.
And just look at these little gooseberries! Looks to be a very good year for soft fruit. I might just put those two chickens around my gooseberry plants just to scratch and peck for sawfly larvae.