The spiteful wind, that has been a feature of this month has dented the enthusiasm of the keenest of gardeners. It has scythed through every fibre, whilst nature has chosen to just bash on.
Encouraged by the stubborn defiance of the dormant world to get back to business, I did sow seed in February and it has germinated. The first lettuce and cabbage are pricked out to trays. The days will race now, with the light extending and in just three weeks we will have our evenings released by the change of clocks. I am back to at the seed sowing and have set out a few early annuals in trays. Some subjects like Poppies, Californian Poppies and Nigella can be sown straight into the ground. Pansies, Sweet William, Calendula and Antirrhinums (which I’ve started) will cope with minimal protection, but subjects like Impatiens, Begonias and even Petunias will require a bit of warmth to get them going. Germination can be slow, so be patient and keep your compost damp.
The vegetables are a bit more straight forward, even root vegetables can be started in pots or trays and most will grow in cool conditions. Don’t allow your enthusiasm to draw you in to planting Runner Beans, Marrows or Cucumbers though, all of these will perish quickly once chilled. Late April is soon enough to sow these subjects or you can wait until mid May for the plants which will be offered in most nurseries. Whilst I have potted a few early seed potatoes, I am going to set a few more and as the month draws on (probably in the third week), will look to get some into the ground. It won’t matter if (for your convenience) they all go in, as the varieties all tend to grow at different speeds, with second early and maincrop potatoes taking longer to mature. On the flower front you can also be planting summer bulbs, Liles and Dahlias will all benefit from a late March start and can be put straight into the ground or raised in patio pots. More broadly, finish pruning in the coming days and you can be quite brutal with some vigorous subjects like willow, hazel and cornus.
And finally, Celeriac has become a very popular vegetable in recent years. It is easy from seed, but has a long growing season and needs sowing soon for best results.