Tips from Alex – March 2017

It’s the middle of March now and I have just recovered from jet lag having recently returned from New Zealand where, believe it or not, they have declared the agapanthus and the lupin to be pernicious weeds! It was still summertime over there; flowers were in full bloom and vegetables producing great crops. It was very interesting to see the varieties they grown on the other side of the world; many familiar and some not so and quite exotic.  Seeing all of this has served to make me look forward with eager anticipation to our forthcoming growing season.

March really sees the start in earnest of my growing season. As mentioned in last month’s blog, I have started by sowing tomatoes. We eat a lot of tomatoes in our household and I am growing six varieties this year: Sungold, the sweetest variety ever, Golden Sunrise a yellow variety excellent for grilling, San Marzano an Italian plum tomato excellent for cooking, Garden Pearl for outdoor cultivation and a new variety, Zlatava, orange on the outside and blood red inside with heart shaped fruit.   I have also sown cucumbers, chillies and sweet peppers. All of these are being started in my heated propagator. In the greenhouse, I have sown sweet peas and will be sowing leeks, courgettes next week. I shall follow these with other vegetables such as Brussels Sprouts and leeks.

​We all tend to over sow for the quantity we need to grow on in the garden. When thinning out and transplanting/potting up, please continue to grow some on for sale at the Hort Soc Plant sale in May. Make sure you pick annual varieties of flowers for the Plant Sale and Flower Show, otherwise you might have to wait till next year for a result.

​The ground in my garden is heating up as daily temperatures rise although I have just seen a forecast for colder weather on the horizon. I shall be keeping my horticultural fleece handy to protect greenhouse sowings should the temperature be forecast to drop at night. I have already dug over a couple of beds in anticipation of being able to sow crops such as onions directly into the soil. I have sown broad beans and look forward to a nice crop in about 10 weeks. Some gardeners will tell you broad beans are best sown in the autumn which will ensure an earlier crop and freedom from black fly. Although you may get a slightly earlier crop, my experience with black fly is that it makes no difference at all.

Work in the garden continues at a pace. The first lawn cut has been done and has identified that I need to pay attention to a significant moss infestation. Final pruning of roses has been completed and tidying of the borders in preparation for summer bedding in the gaps between perennials continues. Next month sees a continuation of sowing vegetables for planting out as conditions permit.

​Happy gardening.

​Alex March 2017

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