April was an exciting month in the garden. We had snow and hail showers, brilliant warm sunshine and everything in between.
But most of all it has been a month of gratitude and abundance. After the cold months of winter, we have been harvesting spring delicacies on a daily basis. There have been lovely fresh herbs for whizzing up into spring tonics. Mint, lemon balm, sage, thyme, fennel and nettles have all blended beautifully with coconut water for sweet tasting drinks. When you drink them it feels like your whole inside gets coated in springtime goodness. We are so happy we bought the juice and smoothie maker earlier in the year. We wrote about it here.
We have also harvested endless amounts of broccoli, dandelions and kale tops for salads and stir-fries. Along with the lovely fresh duck and chicken eggs we are given from friendly neighbours, we hardly need to go to the shops.
Vegetable seedlings are up and growing both inside and out. Our Gazebo by the river is a very nice potting area at the moment, where lots of vegetables can spend some time easing the transition from the indoor windowsill to the open ground. Cut plastic bottles make good protection for young field corn plants. We are growing the varieties Fiesta and Bloody butcher this year. They grow much better than sweet corn in the wet summers we usually have here in the west of Ireland. We start them off indoors in toilet rolls in mid spring, transplanting them as they grow, and by the time they can be planted out, they are big enough to withstand slugs. Corn hates root disturbance and the toilet rolls give them that extra bit of growing height. Last week we brought them to the gazebo, and they are doing great.
A friend gave us a lot of cardboard moulds from a local pharmacy. The scented candles they contained are now safely on the shelves in the shop and the packaging makes perfect planters for all sorts of vegetables and flowers. It feels great to reuse things in the garden and the plants can be planted out later, cardboard and all, with minimal root disturbance.
We cut the grass for the first time this year in our main circle and it has made a big difference. Our whole garden is quite untamed and it is nice to have a little bit of order in the chaos as a contrast. Everything is slowly turning greener but the leaves and buds are not growing as fast as last year. We think it is a good thing as the nights are still cold and the frost damaged a lot of our trees and shrubs last year. Hopefully we will have no such problems this spring.
We have also welcomed some anticipated visitors in April like the swallows and orange tip butterflies. All in all it has been a very pleasant month in the garden and we are looking forward to all the flowers May will bring.