March’s veg plot and seed plan

It feels like it’s time for an update on what’s happening in the veg plot and growing areas, with all the talk of The Food Challenge and the general ventures we are working on…so before it’s too late, we best get on and grow some for when we’re up and running!

I do love March, Spring is on it’s way.  It kind of just pounces on your unexpectedly, even though you may have spent much of February feeling like it would never arrive.  There’s so much more daylight and time to get out and get things done.  

Personally, my time starts to transition from spending lots of time in the house cooking and preparing to being outside, preparing and growing.  It’s still a reasonably quiet time of year for gardeners (not so much smallholders as chicks and lambs start arriving!).  I start to notice that a coat, hat and scarf are too much when working outside, you can feel the sun on your clothes through the glass in the greenhouse, and if you are really lucky, when walking outside feeding the animals.

Yes there’s still frosts and sometimes even snow, but both are very pretty and give you a (very!) fresh start for the day. 

Gone by mid morning, these mornings give way to blue skies and the need for sunglasses to drive safely on the reflective roads!  Come 6pm, there’s still a short amount of daylight to be snatched before giving in to the evening. 

Before you know it, it’s 8:30pm and you’re thinking about the bed time routine before you get up and do it all again.  I love to see the shift in seasons and it’s clear we are bang smack in the middle of the Winter to Spring shift right now.

In March, the temperatures can vary dramatically, so don’t get caught out thinking there won’t be a frost, which we have done before.  In fact, only last year were the fruit trees killed off when a very late May frost killed the blossom.  I really hope that doesn’t happen this year.  With that in mind, I still am still sowing seeds with a view to keeping them protected in various forms until they can move on to their final spot.  I’m not just sowing the hardier seeds either, at the end of the day if we lose some, then we will have more to sow.  It’s all trial and error every year.

At the moment we have stagger-sown the following since 14th February:

Red and white spring onions 
Broad beans
Kale – different varieties
Salad leaves
Tomatoes (a couple of testers)
Red and Green cabbage
Different beans
Potatoes (currently chitting)

We are seeing these seeds come through nicely.

Radish, multi sown
 Salad leaves, tomatoes
Swiss chard, beetroot, salad leaves
Turnip, radish, sunflower, Swiss chard, beetroot, salad leaves
I will continue to stagger the seeds I am sowing to have plants at different ages, to hopefully mature at different stages.  They do sometimes tend to catch up which is nature for you and can be frustrating when you get a glut despite planning not to. This year we are hoping to not only supply ourselves with ALL of our own vegetable needs, but also to do a couple of veg boxes to sell with the eggs we are selling weekly.  Another exciting challenge!
Nothing should go to waste to be fair, even if the veg boxes don’t take off, we will preserve and the chickens and pigs will have what goes over as inevitably things do.

So the seeds are in and being kept warm as needed.  The veg plot is manured/mulched and covered up to warm the soil ready for planting out.  We had the shock of our lives the other day when one of the horses managed to get through the garden gate and made her way in to the veg plot.  We fixed up the damage she did but only time will tell as to whether she has killed anything off!

In the veg garden, which is different to the veg plot, we have our polytunnel that’s 4 years old now.  Highly recommended if you’re looking for a cheaper one, this is 6x3m.  Over the last few weeks it has taken a bashing from the various storms and is starting to need some TLC so we have made some adjustments to it.  Where the zip is starting to come apart we have zipped it closed and adjusted the clips to be longer so we don’t have to keep undoing it beyond the zip.  As you can tell, that was a Ste idea!  Saved us time and money on costly repairs.  Bonus.

The polytunnel will soon be planted up with a couple of kale, radish and salad leaves to get the crops moving on quickly.  I’ll grab some photos when I do that.

Sowings over the next week or so will include tomatoes and peppers, more salad and turnips and second sowings of what’s already in.  We are getting pigs in 3 months which we also are going to grow as much food for as we can, so marrows, turnips, swede, leafy greens and so on.  It’s going to be a very busy growing season, so outside we go!! More pics to follow 🙂

Rhubarb, peas, kale, spinach, PSB, onions & garlic

I had a little mooch around the veg plot mid week.  Something I haven’t been able to do through November and December as it’s been dark by the time I get home and have rode the horses.  I love that it is lighter for longer, each day we’re getting a minute or two in our favour.  Spring will be here before we know it so let’s not waste a moment.
I covered some rhubarb up with a bin to try and force it through but I only did this mid January.  It’s slowly making it’s way quicker than the other plants of the same variety but the difference is minimal and to be fair, you struggle to see it in the centre of this photo.

However the 2 early varieties that I bought last year are flying up, and they haven’t been covered by anything.  So maybe I cover those two next year instead.
Early variety of rhubarb flying up
Showing both early plants.
I had wanted to move these 2 early varieties as I was planning on using the bed they are in as a full strawberry bed.  Does anyone know if I can still move them, now they are growing?  Do they need to move when dormant?
My Purple Sprouting Broccoli is not doing much.  Looks like slugs have been having a feed on it already.  Presumable with the mild winter they are coming out of dormancy?
Onions and garlic are showing.  There’s red and white onions here.  I have more onion seeds that I didn’t plant left over.  I wonder if I can put them in.  Garlic too actually.  I don’t suppose it’d hurt to find out.
Last night I sowed some peas in drain pipes.  These are twinkle variety, to be sown February onwards.  I am using a method that I saw on notjustgreenfingers blog when she was still posting.  Incidentally, I hope she picks up the posting again soon.  You grow the peas on in the drainpipe and then when they are ready for their final plot, you dig a trench and slide them in with minimal disturbance.  Then I will put bamboo canes along the trench for them to grip and grow up.

I covered half with vermiculite then realised I had no idea how much to use.  So I guessed.  Half is compost so I can see which works best.  They are covered with a fleece in an unheated greenhouse.  I also sowed some peas in modules which are in the house to compare to the unheated greenhouse.
All experimenting giving my results to learn from for next year.
I also sowed some spinach and All Season Kale which are in the house uncovered.  Should I cover them?
It’s Grace’s party weekend, so we will be focusing on making it fun and enjoyable for her.  She will be 10 and Ste and I are acutely aware of how quickly that time has passed, so we intend to make the most of it all. 
Have a lovely weekend, I hope you all get time to stop & smell the roses.