Over the last week or so it’s really felt like the growing season has well and truly started. The list of seeds to grow each month is getting longer and longer, and soon I’ll be able to get the first lot of home-grown seedlings planted out. Yesterday I spent the day at the allotment digging and weeding the bean, pea and corn patch. I really should’ve started with this plot, as the broad beans are due to be planted out first but I’m sure they won’t mind a freshly dug plot to be transferred into. The broad beans have really surprised me with the rate at which they’ve grown. Last week, they were only just starting to get their leaves above the soil, this week they’d give Jacks beanstalk a run for its money! I’ve started hardening them off now, so they should be ready to take up residence on the plot in about a fortnight.
March on my planner is filled with lots of little jobs, cleaning out the shed and greenhouse, getting fleece/netting/bamboo canes/brassica collars, along with lots of digging and weeding. I’ve also decided to get some marginal pond plants for nature corner. The plant I’m going to grow in the pond is the water Forget-me-not. It’s not a tall plant, more bushy but it’ll have lots of green leaves and loads of tiny blue flowers which are perfect for pollinators. I’ve never grown plants in water before, so I think it’s best to start off small and with a bit of luck I’ll not kill them (the plants, not the bees).
The one thing on my planner for March that I’ve been looking forward to the most is chitting my potatoes. I’m growing 4 types; Lady Christl and Charlotte as my earlies and King Edwards and Maris Pipers as my main crop. I’ve had the seed potatoes since the middle of January but I’ve held off chitting them until now because the soil I have is clay and it’ll take slightly longer to warm up. Also, the last frosts here will be closer to the end of April, early May so hopefully by the time the shoots start to show above the ground, the last frosts will have passed.
I’ve been keeping the seed potatoes in a cardboard box in the garage to keep them cool to try and delay their natural urge to sprout. Well, this has worked for the main croppers, but it seems that the earlies have had other ideas.
The Lady Christl variety had sprouted really long white shoots, not the lovely green ones I’m hoping to see growing on the potatoes in the next few weeks, so I rubbed all the shoots off and loaded up the egg boxes I’ve been collecting.
Now, I knew I had a lot of seed potatoes but I didn’t realise just how many I had until I started filling up the egg boxes. I’m not sure you can ever have too many potatoes but just in case, I’ve organised a Plan B. I’ll be giving some to my parents to grow in containers, and any left over I’ll donate to my sons school gardening club.
For now the potatoes are now on a nice bright windowsill ready to get some sunshine onto their skins, and I can’t wait to see the lovely stubby shoots starting to grow.