Allotment

Mid-March Happenings

IMG_20170312_095955_584

Several things happen in March which help to really make it feel like the beginning of spring, despite the fact that we still get cold and wet weather. Things like the emergence of swathes of crocuses in parks (and daffodils to follow), the first sign of blossom on blackthorn bushes, and the amazing bright green of the new foliage on hawthorn in hedgerows and verges. In the allotment too, things are stirring – daytime temperatures generally above 5C mean plants can start to grow again, so there is the exciting prospect that the garden will look subtly but noticeably different from visit to visit. I love being tuned in to these seasonal changes – when most of us work indoors all day it is all too easy to be oblivious to what time of year it is, so spending some time in the garden can really help to reconnect us with the seasons. And for me there’s nothing like the prospect of rhubarb crumble again to pique my interest….

Here’s a round up of what’s growing/sowing/harvesting in our plot. I’d be very interested to hear how this compares with your plot in terms of seasonal timings – leave a comment and let me know!

Harvest

Oustide: purple & white sprouting broccoli, parsnips, leeks, landcress, sorrel, spring onions (overwintered), kale (and its broccoli-like flower shoots), forced rhubarb.

Inside (polytunnel): pea shoots, fava bean shoots

IMG_20170311_134315_642

IMG_20170315_180105_296
White sprouting broccoli

Sowing

Outside: nothing yet, but I will sow radish, broad beans, peas, agretti and parsnips soon under fleece.

Inside (polytunnel): radish, lettuce, sweet peas, beetroot, broad beans, peas, coriander, spinach, cima di rapa, spring onion, herb fennel.

IMG_20170311_133739_649

I have sowed most of these in module trays in peat free organic multi purpose compost, either as individual seeds (lettuce, spinach, coriander, cima di rapa) or as a small clump of 3-5 seeds which will grow together (radish, beetroot, spring onion). Hardening off isn’t really practical when we’re not at the allotment all day every day, so when they get planted out I’ll lay fleece over them for a couple of weeks which does a great job of protecting them from cold night time temperatures.

I’ll hold off sowing anything more tender such as climbing beans and courgettes until at least mid April – experience tells me these grow much stronger from a later sowing, whereas if it’s too cold when they are planted out then they’ll sit in the ground and sulk until a slug comes and puts them out of their misery.

Growing

Lots of things, but particularly noteworthy are the shallots, planted outside under fleece in February, which are now sending up shoots. Overwintered spring onions, landcress, chervil and various brassicas (as mentioned) are all going for it now too.

DSC_0021

 

Garden Butterfly Survey

Another great harbinger of spring – I saw my first butterfly (a small tortoiseshell) last week. This year I’m going to log any butterfly sightings with Garden Butterfly Survey, which is aiming to discover more about how butterflies are faring in our gardens.

Let me know what’s happening on your plot, and more importantly – do you favour cream or custard with a rhubarb crumble?!

IMG_20170315_181007_073

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Mid-March Happenings

  1. Seeing your lovely rhubarb reminded me that I had a small packet of Claridge’s Rhubarb and Cream sweets that I brought back from Chelsea Flower Show last year. How could I have forgotten about them? They were Wonderful! Your garden is lovely, and so productive! But what are agretti?

    Like

  2. Just eaten our first rhubarb crumble of the year (with custard of course). Rrhubarb crown from my Grandpa, a certain Gibby Watt. You may have heard of him.

    Like

      1. Will see if Santa can arrange something for you. Will it fit down the chimney?
        Yes all good here thank you.

        Like

  3. Really enjoying your blog updates, thank you. I’m toying at the moment with starting up an allotment but I am a total gardening novice and it does feel daunting!

    However I love your idea of using the no dig method and using raised beds sounds like a great idea as focussing on getting a bed at a time started up seems much less scary! I take the advice on your first blog though about planning the space first though.

    Can I ask, before you set up the beds, how much preparation weeding of the ground did you do?

    Thanks again

    Like

    1. Thanks Hannah, good to hear you’re enjoying the blog! I started with no knowledge 4 or 5 years ago, but you learn quickly (often by necessity!). Raised beds are definitely good for making it feel more manageable, and getting good paths with weed suppressing fabric underneath cuts down a lot of work. Also taking on a half plot (as ours is) makes it easier when most of us these days don’t have enough time to maintain a full plot, and we get more than enough produce for two people.

      We dug over the plot to begin with, over a couple of weeks that I had off over Easter which was hard work but meant we could remove most of the couchgrass and bindweed. If I did it again I’d be tempted to cover half the plot with cardboard, compost and weed fabric and plant things like squashes through that. Charles Dowding is the man to check out for more on the no-dig method of clearance.

      Good luck if you decide to go for it, I’m sure you’ll be hooked if you do!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s