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The year’s garden, week by week

March First week

Golden treasure!

Golden treasure!

I wander’d lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vale and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host of golden daffodils,

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze

W. Wordsworth

What a beautiful description of this wonderful sight at this time of year. It lifts your heart and spirits.

There is something about spring, March in particular, that just energises me. Maybe its the emergence of new life from the barren, frozen ground. The magic of it never ceases to amaze me.

Now for some more magic.

The garden is really awakening now in my neck of the woods, which is a mild area. Camellias have been in bloom for a month now, Daffodils, Crocus, Snowdrops & Hyacinths are showing off their new spring coats. The winter Cherry (Prunus Autumnalis) is putting on a grand finale show of little pink, fairy-light, flowers. The beautiful red stems of the Rhubarb are glistening in the sunshine. Spring has definitely sprung!

So, what should we be doing in the garden?

  • Sow some lettuce seed indoors. It germinates fast. Use Jiffy 7’s for a change. The seed germinates in this peat disc and then you can transplant it without disturbance into the ground or into a pot. Sprinkle a little gritty sand around it to deter Mr slimey!
  • Mulch the Raspberries
  • Get some strawberry plants and plant them indoors (greenhouse or cloche) or outdoors. Existing outdoor strawberry plants should be tidied, removing old leaves and rubbish & letting air flow around the crown. To save space in the greenhouse, you could plant the strawberries in a raised planter, and sow other crops underneath. This makes it easier to remove the plants after fruiting. I never leave strawberry plants in the greenhouse after fruiting because of the risk of inviting vine weevil and they never fruit well indoors in the second year anyway.
  • Take advantage of the last couple of weeks of the bare rooted season. Bare rooted hedges & trees are cheaper! Get your skids on though, the sap is rising!
  • Buy yourself a soil thermometer to check the temperature of the soil before sowing seeds. if you sow seeds in soil that is too cold, they will die a miserable cold death!
  • Have a look at the finances. See if you can rise to a small greenhouse, polytunnel or even a simple coldframe. We have a polytunnel approx 13m x 6m. We grow the following in there; potatoes, strawberries, garlic, chilies, peppers, tomatoes, more tomatoes (we like tomatoes), mangetout, basil, more & more basil (we like basil very much) parsley, rocket, lettuce, coriander. We also like to bask in our polytunnel in the winter sunshine or sit for a glass of well earned wine… lovely!
  • Catch up on all the work you did not get around to in February.
  • Get lots of early nights because next week I am going to give you a lot of work. March is the busiest month of the spring.

Plants of the week:Prunus autumnalis (Winter Cherry, small tree) Cornus alba Sibirica (Red Dogwood)

I feel a tart coming on!

I feel a tart coming on!

Talk to you next week.

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