I declared in my post 5th March that spring had begun. In the end March didn’t come in like a lion or go out like a lamb as the saying goes, but has been more like continuous tundra conditions here – if you were a moose it would have been good.
Compared to a regular March I have done only about one fifth of the seed sowing outdoors I would have done normally. I always advise people not to start seed sowing outdoors until the ground is well warmed up – we need a long run of warm March days for the ground to be ready. Presently we have had freezing conditions night and day for almost two weeks. April will have to be the ‘new March’ this year.
I planted a few new potatoes earlier in the month but I fear they will have frozen to death. Most of my potato seed is still chitting in trays. A piece of advice is to write the labels for your potatoes when you put them in trays to chit (sprout). On the label put whether it is early or main crop, the variety and when it is ready to lift. ( The ‘early’ and ‘second early’ terms refer to when you harvest the potatoes, not to when you plant them. )
Seed potatoes chitting
This is the ‘hungry gap’now. Not very much to eat from the veg plot – I have purple sprouting broccoli, kale, stir fry, salad from the greenhouse. Chard and lettuces coming on outside.
I have been busy sowing seeds in the greenhouse instead of outdoors – it is fully crowded with stuff growing.
My greenhouse is full
Broad beans germinating in newspaper pots
GUTTERS COME INTO THEIR OWN
Sowing seed in gutters is a great way to get ahead. I use lengths of about 1metre and put a bit of gaffer tape across the ends to keep the compost in. When they are ready to plant out, the tape comes off one end and you slide the plants into a channel in the outdoor beds.
Guttering lengths ready for seed sowing
Mangetout peas in gutters ready to plant out soon
ONE WARM WEEKEND
The one warm weekend this month we planted 120 new wild trees and shrubs to a make a hedgerow along the bottom of our field. Arranged in a curved shape it will make a wave of green . (Why have straight lines when I can have a curvaceous hedgerow?)
A new hedgerow
THE ROTTING LOG
Here is one of many logs left around after we felled trees here in 2011. It is lovely to see how beautiful it is now, with a covering of moss growing on it and fungi sticking out of the cut end. I leave them as there is huge shortage of dead wood lying around – the countryside is too tidy. Rotting logs are home to masses of micro-organisms, and bigger exciting things such as stag beetle larvae.