April is here already, month 4. We have been saying wishfully, or should that be wistfully, for weeks “Spring is almost here/just around the corner” – all of a sudden it has arrived.
We are not out of the woods yet when it comes to any sudden cold snaps. I heard this morning that ground frost is forecasted for sheltered areas tonight. It’s a funny month, April, weatherwise. I have recollections of driving to Wales, one Easter, through a heavy snow storm on the M54. I have swept snow off pitches during Easter Hockey Festivals and seen a cricket match stopped due to snow. I took a quick look at the Met Office statistics for 2001. On the 2nd April 2001 the temperature in London reached 21.5°C by the 18th we had hail, sleet and snow. Not a lot changes really does it?
All this means, as gardeners, we have to keep on our toes, listen avidly to the weather forecast and have plenty of fleece at hand. Either that, or be incredibly patient with windowsills crammed and greenhouses packed to the gunnels with seedling and plants waiting to go out in May.
I have hedged my bets with my vegetable seeds. Some I sowed in the raised bed and some are still indoors. I mentioned in my EOMV March that the beans indoors are cracking on but nothing outside. That was until today! Now isn’t this the most exciting of sights?
Every day the hardy geraniums, Aquilegia and Astrantia put on more and more lush growth, the hostas are coming through and the rock rose is in bud.
This morning I found a lupin coming through. I only hope that the slugs and snails don’t get to it before it has a chance to grow a few more leaves. The damp warm weather has been ideal for these slimy beasties and they are fattening themselves up on the new growth in the garden.
The pesky little blighters are an ongoing source of discussion and debate with pros and cons of varying barriers methods and deterrents. Gardening magazines are a wash with pages of advice. However, there is still an ongoing battle between the gardener and the slime.
I have placed copper tape around my raised bed which, I hope, will act as a deterrent. Over the years, I have tried coffee grounds, egg shells, grit, grapefruit skins, beer traps and manure. Whilst they have worked after a fashion, all have not been completely successful. The sight of bits of blue scattered across a flower bed don’t look nice but I am afraid to say that I do resort to slug pellets. I use Slug Bait made by Bayer which claims to be certified for use by organic gardeners.
I would like to use nothing but that is impossible if I want some plants for the summer months. I was glad to see that Carol Klein has a slug problem, and I wonder if they dare go near Monty Don‘s garden. I would be interested to know what others use as a deterrent or barrier.
PS Having just run a spell check on the above, the suggestion I got for “beasties” was “beauties” – I think not!!