It’s a funny old year already and it looks like being the warmest March for decades – and whilst Scotland, the North And North West have kept their rainfall, The East, South and South East are already in drought conditions. As March has been unseasonably warm, I have been up on the allotment earlier this year. Soil improvement has been a theme on all the plots, with tons of manure being dug in over the last two years (when the garden lots were first made available by our local council, transforming an old ‘set aside’ field) but March and April are busy times for vegetable growers:
- Plant late early and maincrop potatoes once they have been ‘chitted’ (sprouted) into rich well dug soil. I am trying slug and blight resistant varieties this year – Sarpo Mira and Kestrel along with Maris Piper.
- Peas can be planned out from March onwards in rows – I would recommend planting at two week intervals.
- I have raspberries , gooseberries and blackberries already planted. Check for disease and damage on stems and remove as necessary. Strawberries can be ridies up and old leaves and spent runners removed.
- If you can sow seeds indoors or in a greenhouse, courgettes and runner beans can soon be started in pots.
- Weeds can be suppressed (and worms fed) by a mulch of manure or rotted leaves
- Freecycle is a great way to find free stuff. I am on the look-out for some scaffolding planks for a new raised bed for my strawberries.
- Not much to harvest yet, some winter greens still – but the rhubarb is well on its way to being edible – it looks great!
- And don’t forget frosts can cause damage right through till May – fleece can protect tender shoots outside.