There is a saying here that the month of March “comes in like a lion and out like a lamb”, which in my 42 years experience just sums up this month perfectly.
I am soooo over winter, it has been the longest, most miserable winter ever, between our house kicking us repeatedly in the behind, the weather (cold, rainy & dismal), the dark evenings and lack of sunshine and my general daily struggles with depression which at times have left me feeling exhausted.
The past few weeks however I have felt a change, both in the weather and, more importantly, within myself. The beginning of March brought the first daffodils in our garden, which were one of the first things we planted after we moved here, to me their trumpets herald a new season beginning. I am awakening to birdsong most mornings, the days are getting longer and we have had stretches of sunshine some days, which has allowed me to throw open the windows and let the fresh spring air into our home.
I have also started to straighten out our poly tunnel and planted out the first batch of strawberry plants, 60 of which were grown from last year’s runners! These new plants are already starting to flower & I am amazed that my £12 investment last year (in 12 strawberry plants) has multiplied so well that they now need 5 of my box-beds to accommodate them all.
I was also pleasantly surprised to see that 11 of the 12 ‘sprouted’ garlic cloves I planted along the edges of one of my raised box-beds at the end of last summer have started to grow. I was convinced they had ‘died off’ but I gently weeded around them and planted the rest of the box with 18 shallot sets, which were reserved from our harvest last year. Free strawberries, garlic & shallots for our house this year!
I also have a great selection of seeds leftover from last year and I have planted a bed with beetroot which grows slowly but was much appreciated last year – delicious roasted & drizzled with balsamic vinegar). I have decided not to bother growing cucumbers or radishes this year as nobody in our house is at all fussed about them so these crops were a waste of space. Our tomato plants last year were enormous and yielded kilo upon kilo of delicious fruit, 10 varieties was probably a few too many though. I will need to buy some cherry tomato seeds this year as I don’t appear to have any left.
The only other purchases so far are seed potatoes, I have again gone for Charlotte potatoes, I grew these last year in large pots, which worked fantastically well, they are ‘chitting’ away merrily in my utility room and should be ready for planting in another week or so. I have also ordered some Sweet Potato tubers which should be here in about 12 weeks time – I can’t wait to try these out as we are big fans of sweet potatoes in our house!
I probably need a few more Sundays to finish setting up the extra beds needed for this year’s crops & also need to start planting out my seed crops – tomatoes, peppers, peas, beans, courgettes, salad stuff & herbs.
Watch this space!