Su’s Allotment in March

EDIT: after accidentally deleting this, I am reinstating it!

an allotment in spring
Ready to begin the new season

It’s that time of year again where the ground is bare, but warming up and we all start thinking about sowing our seeds for this year’s crops.

Of course, some seeds are more suited to germinating in the lower light levels and temperatures of early spring than others but generally March can be a good time to sow many things such as onions, beetroot, brassicas and early peas if you have a sheltered spot such as a greenhouse or polytunnel. It is even possible to get a head start on warmth loving crops such as tomatoes and peppers if you have a heated propagator.

I prefer to start most of my seeds off in module trays, and to transplant the young seedlings out as a plug plant when the ground has warmed. This gets you a head start on the growing season, particularly if you have access to fleece material (available in the shop) to cover the newly planted plugs which can trap some warmer air and hold off all but a harsh frost.

The only seeds I don’t do this for are carrots and parsnips, because both are prone to forking if their roots are damaged, and I have enough trouble getting carrots beyond one inches anyway, with the dreaded carrot fly!

I’ve also potted up some bulbs in the greenhouse at home in order to give me some summer colour at home. This year I will hopefully have a good display of gladioli, peonies, lilys, sunflowers and delphiniums, amongst other things. I’m keeping my fingers crossed though, because my soil at home is extremely sticky heavy clay and it waterlogs easily as the rain flows towards the hollow that is my garden.

Frank, my only hen that lays eggs (who is kept at home, along with her roost-mate, Dee) has gone from being almost entirely bald as she lost her feathers during winter for the annual moult, and is now looking like her normal self again. Hopefully, now that she is almost completely feathered up she’ll start laying eggs again, but as she’s an ageing chicken there’s no guarantee of that and she might just be joining Dee in having a pampered retirement after a lifetime of giving one egg almost every day of her adult life.Honeybees enjoying the winter sunshine

Honeybees enjoying the late winter sunshine

My bees, which are also kept at home, are showing signs of good health following winter where they have been cooped up inside their hives. March and April can be a trying time for honeybees as the weather can be horrendous. Last year we had a very late winter storm, “the Beast from the East” which worried gardeners and beekeepers alike, and the bad weather keeps them inside the hive and just like children they get very antsy if they can’t get outside to play! Happily though, I can see a lot of activity at the hive entrance, and lots of pollen coming in, which is a good sign that there are baby bees inside!

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