‘It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold : when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.’ (Charles Dickens)
Like hibernating Dormice, we Rookie Allotmenteers awoke from our slumber this month, and made tentative steps back onto the allotment (albeit a little sleepy and bleary eyed) for the start of a new growing season.
A couple of sunny weekends at the beginning of the month meant we could get back onto the plot, make a start at preparing our raised beds and begin to sow the first vegetable and flower seeds directly into the ground. Most of our beds have spent the winter cosily under carpet covers, so only needed some fresh soil from the compost heap and some chicken manure pellets adding to the mix.
The overgrown flower border was another matter however, and took hours of back-breaking weeding to get back into shape ! Our direct sowing has so far included – Shallots, Onions, Carrots and Broad Beans (all into our raised baths), with Nigella, Night Phlox, Poppies, Cornflower, Larkspur and Nemophila planted into the flower bed.
This being March, we were not blessed with sunshine for long and the rain gave us the opportunity to spend some time planting our indoor seeds. This year, we’ve found some fantastic seed trays in Aldi (£3.99 for 3 complete trays with lids), which are now adorning our windowsills, brimming with expectation.
Wilko also do a good affordable range of seed trays, and for the ultimate in cheap seed sowing, we’ve also adopted the ‘loo roll’ technique again this year (i.e – trays filled with compost-filled loo rolls, which can be planted directly into the soil, allowing the loo roll to biodegrade naturally over time). This is especially good for those plants (such as Sweetpeas) which don’t like their roots disturbing too much. Our first flowers to be planted indoors are Sweetpeas, Salvia, Dahlias and Geraniums, with Broccoli, Pepper and Tomato seeds being started off too.
In our absence from the plot, the Rhubarb has grown into almost edible lengths. In the garden, our Daffodils, Grape Hyacinth, Pansies and Crocuses are in bloom and beautiful pink blossom is on the trees. Spring at last ! But for allotmenteers, so much to do !