Monday 28 February 2022

What Vegetables To Sow In March?

What vegetable seeds can you sow in March? As the temperature starts to slowly rise in March and the days start to get a little longer, the opportunity to sow vegetable seeds increases compared to the earlier months of January and February, and the new exciting growing season kicks off with some sowing inside or in a cold greenhouse and some sowing directly outside, but we have to be mindful of our local last frost date.

Below is an extract from my Sowing And Planting Plan page that can be found just under the web site banner.

This sowing and planting plan is based on my last frost date of the end of March and using the Garden Focused web site that builds a basic list for you. I've tweaked that list to be more specific re the varieties I'm growing this year and the workload I have before me.

Week 1

Asparagus- sow seeds inside

Week 1

Parsnip – Germinate Picador F1, Tender & True and Palace F1

Week 1

Squash / pumpkins- prepare soil

Week 1

Radish – Sow fortnightly

Week 1

Lettuce (Winter) – Sow fortnightly

Week 2

Brussels Sprouts - sow seed of early varieties

Weeks 1 - 2

Carrot - sow seed of early varieties under cloches

Weeks 1 - 2

Carrot - sow Bugs Bunny varieties in Cut Down Water Butt

Week 2

Garlic- plant in late winter / spring

Week 2

Rhubarb - start to harvest

Week 2

Tomatoes - sow seed inside

Week 2

Melon – Amarillo Ora - sow indoors

Week 3

Asparagus - apply spring fertiliser

Week 3

Cauliflower (early summer) - harden off

Week 3

Spring Onions - start to sow fortnightly

Week 3

Spinach - sow seed outside

Week 3

Parsnip – Picador F1 – Transplant (7)

Week 3

Parsnip – Tender & True – Transplant (7)

Week 3

Parsnip – Palace F1 – Transplant (7)

Week 4

Radish – Sow fortnightly

Week 4

Lettuce - start sowing seed outside every two weeks

Week 4

Beetroot - sow seeds under cloches

Week 4

Brussels Sprouts - thin seedlings as they appear

Week 4

Cauliflower (early summer) - plant out

Week 4

Onions - sow seed outdoors

Week 4

Potatoes - plant out sprouted sets

Week 4

Sweet Peppers - pot up

I hope you found this posting useful if you did then please leave a comment on the page.

Sunday 27 February 2022

Making Something Out Of Nothing !

Potting Table before we unscrewed the bench shelfing and polycarbonate roof, and then found to our horror that the frame of the table had rotted as well as the joints in the tables surface and I could not overboard the table frame with scaffold boards. Those scaffold boards will now make cold frame boxes for the secondary glazing units I have.

Pallet store / onion drying rack made out of two half pallets for the cheeks and a full pallet for the back. I had offcuts from the ply cheeks I used on the plot 1 onion rack extension to the shed, and I have a number of sheets of twin wall polycarbonate sheeting that has been used for the roof. The second sheet tried fitted exactly with a 10mm overhang either side. All connections made with small metal angle brakets of various sizes and short timber screws.   

There are three roofing battens supporting each mesh shelf which are from an old  blow-a-way. The roofing battens fit in the gaps between the slats of the pallets that make up the cheeks and can be moved up and down or out completely depending what I want to do with the covered storage area.

The store could be used for growing mini and micro dwarf tomatoes, or larger tomatoes under cover, for hardening off plants before going in the ground, definitely drying onions as I've got twice as many in the ground this year.  

Pallet store / onion drying rack after we had a tidy around and need to find homes for the stuff that was in and on the original potting table. All made with re purposed and recycled materials.

If I get hold of a few more pallets I may make another one of these stores down by plot 1 to cover the compost beside the table in the photo below this text. 

The Potting Table shelfing bench with roof fits nicely on top of the garden bench behind the greenhouse on plot 1

The plastic bottom of the dog crate that I empty the potatoes in buckets onto fits exactly between the bench legs. 

I will infill the sides of the bench with some polycarbonate sheeting

Plum Tree in Blossom. 

Big in your face bumble bees all over the Plum tree in the sun today on the plot. 

Photo by Andy Steven Wooldridge.

Saturday 26 February 2022

Spuds in The Space Saver Greenhouse

Space Saver Greenhouse now clean and tidy and the six varieties of potatoes are finally out of the house and fending for themselves in the greenhouse. Terracotta Candle heater and Firefly heater, and propagator lids ready for any minus temps to keep the frost off them.

The mushroom trays were fitted with insulation last year and I made two more insulated trays this year, and they will be stored away ready to be used for chitting the potatoes in future years.

Friday 25 February 2022

Flying Friday Visit

This afternoon Kelly was working from home so I managed to get nearly two hours on the plot, I took some kitchen scraps for the Dalek. I did some tidying and weeding and I have placed the weeds in one of the water butts to make some weed tea. 

Now there is no longer a communal dumping ground for weeds it's a case of Drowned, Burn, or Dry and Composting if possible or bag it up and take it home for the rubbish. 

With the council wanting you to pay for the removal of garden waste these days and only allowing 12 visits to the dump a year one has to become a little inventive. 


Liz Zorab - Grounded 20% Off

It's been a year since the publication of Grounded by Liz Zorab!  I was lucky enough to receive a draft pdf version to read and a paper copy once published and it's a great read and I really enjoyed the book. Read my review of Grounded here.
To celebrate, Liz is offering UK purchasers 20% off the cover price of a signed copy of Groundedwhen purchased via her website. This offer is valid until 28th February 2022, subject to availability, while stocks last.

Liz has moved to a much larger property now, in growing space terms. I'm looking forward to Grounded II or what ever she will call it and then the third book based on her development of her and Mr J's new home.   

Thursday 24 February 2022

Sweetcorn Planting Membrane


Today I was thinking about which sweetcorn to grow as I have 3 varieties in my seed box at the moment. 

The results with Marshalls Alliance F1 Hybrid Sweetcorn in 2019 were nothing more than spectacular (see photos of harvest here) and I have to say they were the best Sweetcorn that I have grown to date, Tyson F1 were good in 2021 but not as good as Alliance. 

This year I'm going to trial the Marshalls Moonshine F1 - 50 Seeds - £2.99 - packed year ending 03/21 and best before date 09/2022 and hope they produce as good if not better than the Alliance F1 Hybrid, only time will tell. 

With the Marshalls Moonshine having a huge 50 seeds per pack, I actually have enough seeds for two beds of 18 plant = 36 plants and thus only need a 72% Germination rate. 

However if I made two planting sheets like this 

Potato membrane used for sweetcorn last year 9 x 3 holes = 27 planting locations  

Knowing I will not get 100% germination I could have two beds of the Marshalls seeds and hope for 96% Germination, I can always put something else in the corner of a bed if I get worse germination rate.  Or go for a 24 hole sheet and a 21 hole planting sheet. 

New! Sweetcorn Picasso F1  - 35 Seeds - a New Variety to Mr Fothergill's - Costs £2.95 

Two number 3 x 6 = 18 hole sheets would give 36 planting holes, however one never gets 100% germination.

New! Sweet Corn Illusion F1 - 25 Seeds - a new variety from Dobies - Cost £2.99

A planting sheet like this 21 hole version would be ideal and would allow for 84% Germination, in the unlikely event of near 100% germination I could use the 24 hole planting sheet.  

If possible I like to have two beds of sweetcorn. I'm always up for trying out new varieties, But I think what I have found is that I need to make a 24 hole and a 21 hole planting sheet to cover all the bases.  

At the moment I have two beds planned as far away from each other because I thought I may have two different varieties growing, however if I go for Marshalls Moonshine I can place the beds next to each other which will be better for pollination.  

Marshalls        50 seeds £2.99
Mr Fothergill's 35 seeds £2.95
Dobies            25 seeds £2.99 

When one looks at the cost and number of seeds per pack Marshalls wins hand down for value for money per seed. It will be interesting to see how the Dobies & Mr Fothergills seeds measure up once they have been grown. 

Monday 21 February 2022

Grow With Me 2022 - Ganovese Basil

I noticed the Joel Mills Grow With Me 2022 - Ganovese Basil sown six days ago was poking it's heads trough today. The spacing is looking good at the moment I tried to get a five in each cell like on a dice.


Sunday 20 February 2022

Sunday Morning Visit

This morning I got in a good four hours on the plot. I hit the area between the Plot 1 Greenhouse and the Comfrey Butts, and finally cleared of debris and I managed to find 3 squared flower buckets of very black looking decaying woodchips and infilled the depression in the ground and found enough broken slabs to make a semi hard standing for the rubbish bins, that hold compost and other goodies I don't want the foxes getting into.

Rubbish Bin storage area once most of the rubbish bins and empty flower buckets had been gathered up.

 View behind the the Plot 1 Greenhouse looking towards the Rubbish Bin storage area.

Photo of the bin store area just before going home once all the lids had some bricks on and the bread tray gate to capture any wind blown pots was put in place.

Water, Comfrey and Nettle Butts that were all blown over Friday and the lids to the rubbish bin butts damaged back in place and bricks placed inside as no water to fill them up at the moment on site. Dirt and slate chipping on the paving slabs in front to be picked up and separated during a future visit.

All the milk bottle soft bricks and buckets with lids of sand that were stored under the plot 1A potting table, were removed and the sand decanted into the cut down water butt that I'm going to use to grow Carrots. 

The water butt to the greenhouse was tucked around the back of the shed as it's going to be windy again this afternoon. 

Photo at the right is the cut down sand water butt at the end of the morning once all the sand found had been decanted into it. the level of the sand will rise as the bores are extracted and filled with compost. The lid was put on and the Dalek was placed over it to keep everything out and help warm up the sand a little.

Two full and a cut slab added to the side of the patio area and the path behind Square Foot Gardening Bed lined up and completed. It was nice to sit there and have a couple of coffee breaks during the morning.

View up the plot from the main allotment path, the bulbs on the left of the paving slabs are all coming up nicely, I'm really hoping they don't come up blind. It will be so good then the final Square Foot Garden Bed is dug weeded and installed.

Saturday 19 February 2022

Storm Eunice Damage

It stopped raining in the afternoon so at around 3pm-ish I popped down to the allotment to look at what damage Storm Eunice may have caused. I had anticipated the incinerators being on my neighbours plot, and they were what I had not thought would happen is that the hoops and netting over the over wintering onions would have wanted to turn into a kite.

Looking at the onion beds, I glanced up and saw that the middle panel of the plot 1A greenhouse was no longer there!

Bugger, then I noticed the top of the rubbish bin of leaf mould was missing. A hunt pursued and I found it on my neighbours plot. The raised planter on the other side of the greenhouse and one of the full water butts was in the floor and the lid to the raised planter was gone. This also was found broken with a hole on my neighbours plot.

I spotted the two metal incinerators and recovered and relocated them, then went to see what damage if any there was on the plot 1 greenhouse.

The small apex panel above the door was missing and was found, the Gooseberry and Blackberry plants were no longer in the table, but on the floor and then I noticed the large water butt and the two Comfrey & Nettle feed butts were on the deck with their lids missing. It appears the wind took the fence panel and the fence panel took the three butts out, and I'm guessing the water is what broke the lid locks, as it all came crashing to the paved area.

I had my two battery powered drills in the back of the car so I used one for drilling the holes in the panels and the frame of the greenhouse and the other for screwing in what was left of the pack of small PK screws that I used to re fix the panels the last time we had wind and damage on the plot, and I lost a couple of panels.

Looking on Facebook it could have been a lot worse people have lost greenhouses and polytunnels completely. The girls on plot 14 lost their plastic Ketta shed to another plot and had been down and recovered it. Henry lost his blow-a-way again, but he didn't learn from the last time that it needed to be lashed to his shed, the only good thing being it's so early in the season he didn't have it full of trays of seedlings. John lost the glass to his cold frames.

Time was marching on and I had not anticipated dealing with the outfull of Eunice this afternoon, but I wanted to cover up the Onions so that the birds didn't come and pull them all out of the ground, so I reinstated the hoops and netting before making my way home.

Leaving a lone plot holder trying to cover the collapsed roof to his decaying shed with a tarp. In many ways, I was lucky that the finally removed the leaning wall behind me shed on plot 1A because I believe my shed would have been flat underneath it had they not.

Plan Your Work - Work Your Plan

First signs of life noticed this morning...... Grow With Me 2022 Aztek Tomatoes In the Dalefoots Compost for Seeds and the sieved Miracle-Gro Multipurpose Compost.

Morning making labels and seed bags for the next batch of sowings that need to be made today, and in March.

I've Planned My Work now I have to Work My Plan

Let There Be Lettuce

A Great video by Charles Dowding 

Lettuce is something we eat a lot of and something that I have not been particularly good at growing in the past. I've had a couple of good years, I can grow it but it gets eaten by slugs and snails and I tend to see very little in the way of harvest. I'm on a quest to bash the slugs and snails this year.

Looking through my Lettice collection there are two varieties that I can grow in February 

It would appear that the Mr Fothergill's Vailan is no longer on their web site. It can however be found on other web sites by doing a simple google search.