It’s been a really beautiful afternoon here in Somerset and I have been tinkering at my allotment. I love March. It signifies the beginnings of Spring, new life and the promise of warmer weather. It brings with it green shoots popping up everywhere, crocuses flowering, daffodils blooming.
To me, the first signs of Spring means it’s time to get down to the allotment and start the vegetable growing process for the season. It’s something that I find very wholesome and has a very “Good Life” feel to it. There aren’t a million things that make me happier than being up to my elbows in soil, planting seeds and watching them grow.
We’re lucky enough to have use of a propagator so we can start everything off pretty early and be safe in the knowledge that our seed babies are going to be tucked away in the warm away from the big bad frost. We already have growing perpetual spinach (the year before last, I learnt why it is called “perpetual” – we ended up with so much, we were using it as a garnish, a herb, in salads, just about with everything!!), onions, broccoli, tomatoes, pak choi, leeks, broad beans, radish and lettuce.
If using a propagator isn’t an option for you,
it might be best to wait until the weather is more consistent as it can be notoriously volatile during March. Plants begin to grow when the temperature rises above 6°C (43°F). For us, there isn’t masses more we can get done until the vegetable beds dry out a bit. There’s plenty you can be doing before you start the actual planting.
March Allotment Preparation
? Remove any plants that have finished producing crops ?
? Clean the greenhouse with a stiff brush. Let the sun in ?
? Hoe/dig the soil to enable aeration and remove weeds, some people cover the bed over with fleece/clear polythene ?
? Plan your crop rotation, what you’re going to be growing and where and order your seeds – I always grow far too much of everything and end up giving plants to friends and family ?
? Plan strategies for dealing with pesky insects and troublesome rodents (I won’t use chemicals on my allotment so I take my time researching natural ways to keep critters at bay) ?
? Cover rhubarb (we use a bucket with the bottom chopped off to encourage the plants to grow up) ?
? March is your latest chance to plant bare root fruit trees and bushes ?
There are very few vegetables that I really don’t like. Broad beans are one of them. Why is it that broad beans are the hardiest little beggars and grow regardless of how much or how little attention they receive?! I’m going to seriously experiment with different ways of cooking them this year. I will learn to like them. I’ll never like celery though. Yuck! Evil little stalks!