Monday, March 3, 2008

Marching On......

They have been steadily pushing their way through the soil over the past few weeks now, giving us a glimpse of what is to come.
It’s always great to see this first burst of colour in the garden, the Snowdrops.

Once I see these I know that others will soon follow the daffodils, hyacinths and tulips to name but a few and I see pansies and primroses are now out in the shops.
At last spring is here!

I have also been watching for other signs of life in the garden. The garlic and onions I planted in late October are sending up little green shoots.

It amazes me how these and the lettuce survive the severe minus temperatures, frosts and snow that our winter here can bring. They seem to shut down for a while and as soon as the sun shines again they get a new burst of energy and away they go.
A bit like us really.....

So with that in mind it’s time to dust of the wellies and weather permitting get cracking with the Veggie plot.
Start looking now in the market for the small seed potatoes and onion sets. Both of these can be sowed out, onions now and potatoes at the end of the month.
With seed potatoes you can buy them early and store them in trays or old egg cartons in a light, warm, 10C / 50F, place. They should start to form lovely bushy green sprouts and be perfect for planting out in the last week of March. Don’t be tempted to hide them away in a cupboard in the dark as they will form pale and weak shoots.
It’s hard to go wrong with potatoes. My neighbours plant them out really close together in long rows but I find if you have the space, especially at this time of year, spreading them out gives a better yield. I usually place them in rows 60cm (2ft) apart, with the tubers 30cm (12in) apart and around 15cm (6in) deep.
By the end of June these should be ready for harvesting and at the same time the later varieties can be planted out.

Peas can also be planted now, in fact the earlier the better as soon as you can get onto the soil without sinking!
Last year I sowed out a 200g packet at the beginning of March and at the end of May I had over 12lbs of peas shelled and in the freezer, so easy!

I have started off a variety of annual plant seeds just in pots on the windowsill and I am experimenting with some seeds that came from a neighbour that I must confess to having no idea what they are. If the weather stays mild these can all be hardened off late March and be instant greenery for April.
I have taken a carnation that was given to me and planted it..the result has been quite surprising!

The Bougainvillea too has come active all of a sudden.Too cold for it at the moment to stay outside all the time so just through the day to acclimatise it again.

However March can be an unsettled month so do what you can when you can.
But be prepared the next few months will be hectic!