March into April

March is a funny old month, spring seems to tentatively arrive, then you get cruelly plunged back into winter, and then suddenly you go through spring and into summer within a week. I was wrapping up in extra layers in order to venture into the potting shed at the start of the month, we then had a very wet weekend in the Lakes in the middle of the month (you know the sort of rain that doesn’t look too bad from inside the house, but within minutes of venturing out, you are completely soaked to the skin, so you have a job to peel your clothes off when you get back) but then by the end of the month I was peeling layers off with the heat. It felt like 3 seasons in one month.

The blustery storms of February blew the netting off my brassicas, allowing the pigeons full access to swoop in and have a feast, putting an early end to my purple sprouting broccoli. We managed to strip what was left of the Brussels sprouts, but then the bed was cleared out. To be honest it wasn’t the best bed of brassicas I’ve grown, all of the plants struggled to get going, so I obviously need to work some nutrients back into the soil there. 

The annual seedlings shuffle has been in full swing. I can only fit 7 little trays onto my windowsill propagator, so I have to wait for some to be ready for transplanting before I can sow more, at least for those that need the extra warmth. My mange-tout peas germinated fine outside and have now been planted out on the plot as they didn’t need any hardening off. Plastic bottled cloches are keeping them protected from the pigeons for the time being. The lettuce seedlings are outside awaiting their turn, and I’m also hardening off kale and Brussels seedlings. While still in the warmth of the lean-to are the peppers and chillies, and the baby incubator (propagator) is currently birthing some tomatoes, basil and cosmos. All of the potatoes have been planted, and seeds of carrots, parsnips, beetroot and spring onions have all been sown direct.

As for harvests, well … mainly leeks. We’ve eaten leeks all winter, and we’re still munching our way through endless leeks. I’ve had some pea shoots from those grown in a window box at home, there’s lots of new growth on the spinach from last years crop, and the rhubarb harvest has just begun. So not exactly the hungry gap just yet. I still have some parsnips and beetroot in the freezer too. 

The grass and the weeds are growing like mad now too, and the first slug trails spotted in the garden, so there’s no rest. From now until the end of summer it’s a cycle of sow, prick, plant, weed, mow, water, feed, harvest … which bring us back to sow, rake, weed, feed, mow, large mug of tea, sow. Sow a seed, a fertile seed, rake a lovely bit of soil … okay I’ll stop, I’m stopping.

My journal pages for March are below, and it’ll be a blink of the eye before I’m posting those for April. Have a lovely long weekend over Easter, hope you all manage to get some gardening done, if the weather gods are on our side. We do need some rain at the moment, but I just hope it isn’t being saved for the Easter break. That would be typical.

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