We have bumped our way through another messy month, with the weather at its treacherous best, if it were to figure in a Shakespeare play, it would be cast as the villain and carry a knife. Each evening I have ventured onto the site, checked doors and boilers and smelled the air as my father and grandfather did before me, in anticipation of a temperature change or the arrival of a storm. The chill of winter has never been faraway. Know though I can see the light, the days lengthen and there is a hint of spring. In just a few weeks the clocks will move forward. Who knows we may even get to trim the lawn (though if you do, keep the blades up for the first cut to prevent the bleaching of your newly mown space).
Hopefully we can get a bit of proper gardening done this month, there is of course still tidying up to do, but we can get some seed started. If you haven’t any heated space then initially restrict sowing vegetables and flowers to hardy subjects. If you have heat then you can play with begonias and busy lizzies.
Out on the plot, you can continue with the planting of onion sets, shallots and garlic and towards the end of the month start putting potatoes into the ground. I tend to get them in in one hit and have never seen great worth in staggering earlies, second earlies and maincrop varieties. The determination of their grouping is just to do with the length of time they take to grow. So even planted on the same day, an early potato a maincrop variety will not be fit for harvest on the same date.
With buds fattening and the sap starting to rise this is a great time to be introducing new trees and shrubs to the garden and it’s the last call for bare root plants. You will still find bare root hedging and raspberries, but get a move on, or hold off until late autumn.
The warming of the ground will also prompt the emergence of new growth and suddenly a feast will be offered to slugs and snails. The delphinium and Hosta shoots and those of many other perennials will need protecting. The marauding molluscs await the feast. Don’t say you were not warned.
And finally, as a nod to an octogenarian friend who is a fantastic rose grower, ‘prune you roses in March’
IF A SMALL SPACE CAN BE FOUND ANYWHERE COULD I ASK FOR HELP IN PROMOTING THE FOLLOWING.