I am delighted to have been asked to contribute to The Gaitpost. I will be bringing you monthly gardening jobs, tips and advice from my garden in Yorkshire.
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The Garden in March
March is the time of year when the garden really starts to wake up. The Spring Equinox on 20th March meant there were now more daylight hours than the night hours and the clocks spring forward this weekend giving us lighter evenings. I definitely start to feel better and so does the garden.
At this time of the year, the garden changes by the day if not by the hour. Spring bulbs are in abundance, wild garlic in the woodlands and bluebells will be quick to follow. The bees are out collecting the Spring nectar; now is the time to prepare the garden for the year ahead.
My top tips for getting the garden ready and getting ahead:
Weed and mulch your herbaceous borders and vegetable gardens. Mulch with mushroom composor ask a local farmer for some well rotted manure (at least two years old) or if organised, your own homemade compost. The more nutrients you add to the soil the more it will repay you.
Sow your annuals; cosmos, ammi majus and ammi visnaga, ranunculas, antirrhinums, zinnias and larkspur to name a few. All will give you great colour and long lasting flowers and excellent fillers for any bare patches in the garden.
Split and divide your perennials. Perennials are plants which come back year after year. They benefit from being divided and moved, a great way to increase your stock or share with friends.
Dahlias, order now and start off undercover. Pot up in individual pots or trays with a covering of multi purpose peat free compost and gently water. They will soon start to sprout and you will have stronger and earlier flowering plants. Plant out into the garden once all sign of frosts have gone.
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I’ve been busy in the greenhouse during March starting off summer vegetables. I have sown a variety of herbs, broad beans, french beans, butternut squash, broccoli, peas and cut and come again lettuce. I love to sow cut and come again lettuce in gutters. It is a great way to save space and to get ahead.
You will be cutting your lettuce in less than four weeks. All you need is a gutter or two, either keep as one long length or cut into smaller lengths. I add a wooden base to mine so easier to balance and to move around. You can make your own end caps or buy end caps. If no holes are in the base, drill a few holes to allow the water to drain. Fill with multi purpose peat free compost, water and scatter lettuce of choice or any cut and come again variety. I have sown red mizuna from Seedaholic and Lolla Rossa From Seeds of Italy.
Lightly cover with a thin layer of compost and leave to germinate. Your seeds should germinate within a week. You can also do this with micro greens and pea shoots. Both to be eaten as cut and come again and as small baby leaves. Check every few days and lightly water when needed.
There is still time to sow your sweet peas. Start off in pots, pinch out when two true leaves and about 5-10 cms tall (this is when you nip the tops off) this strengthens the plants giving you larger, longer flowering plants. Harden off for a few days before planting out into the garden.
If you have been chitting your potatoes they will soon be ready to plant out into the garden. There is also still time to buy them from any garden centre or online store. Chit for a few days before planting, this will give your potatoes an excellent headstart once planted. Potatoes are generally planted around Easter, so get cracking!