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End of March update

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Latest post from MARKSVEGPLOT – a blog about food and gardening in England”

We have had a few days of fine, mostly sunny, weather with daytime temperatures in the mid-teens, and the plants in my garden have responded enthusiastically. So have I! I have been out sowing, planting, pruning, tidying-up etc. I thought an update-style post would be in order…

Daffodils are already giving way to Tulips. It’s a shame they only last a couple of weeks, isn’t it?

The Purple Sprouting Broccoli is still going strong. I have used two of my four plants now. The remaining ones are the two “Early Purple Sprouting” ones, one of which is certainly trying very hard to earn its place as an ornamental plant as well as an edible one.

My Onion sets are growing strongly now:

The spare ones in pots (which I am going to use in lieu of Spring Onions) are bursting into life as well:

The First Early potatoes (planted on 11 March) are appearing:

The first tentative shoots of Asparagus have poked through the soil this week too:

There’s not much evidence of the sowing I have been doing, apart from a few re-located cloches, and a recently-deployed anti-cat net:

Beetroot sown under the one on the left; Radishes under the other

I have sown a short (1.2m) row of each of two types of Beetroot – “Cylindra” and “Boltardy”. The former is a long thin (cylindrical!) type, whereas the latter is a more conventional round type.

The Parsnips I have sown this year are “Student” and “Hollow Crown”. Since I have two fewer raised beds this year I can only afford to grow a few Parsnips, but I will be doing my best to make sure they’re good ones. I sowed them well-spaced-out, and with two seeds per station to maximise my chances of getting good even spacing.

Seen through the net: sticks and labels mark where I have sown Parsnips

My chilli seedlings have had a couple of outings to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air.

It’s good to be able to get them outside, because I don’t like to keep them under artificial light for too long. Besides, when kept indoors they seem to be exceptionally susceptible to aphid attack. The blessed creatures seem to appear from nowhere! When the plants are outside they are much less bothered by aphids, and predators soon reduce the number of them.

Many of the chilli seedlings are “racing away” and looking fine, like the ones seen in the next photo, but unfortunately I also have several that look weak and unenthusiastic for some reason. [This is why it is good to avoid "putting all your eggs in one basket", so to speak.]

I also have 6 types of chilli that have not germinated at all – or at least, not yet. I haven’t totally given up on them because I know that it can sometimes take up to two months for a chilli seed to germinate, but I’m acutely aware that even if a seed were to germinate now it may be too late for it to grow into a plant big enough to produce ripe fruits this year. It might have to be reserved for over-Wintering. By the way, I have got rid of all the chilli plants that didn’t make it thorough the Winter, and I have been left with five. That’s approximately a 50% success rate. Not as good as I had hoped. Unusually, the plants that did best were the ones I had clipped least severely.

I sowed my Tomato seeds last Monday (20th March), in unheated propagators on a windowsill, and they almost all germinated on Friday. I have just one variety (“Cherokee Purple”) that hasn’t shown (yet). The seeds are ones I saved myself last Autumn using the fermentation technique about which I wrote. I hope I did it properly…!

I have done with the Tomatoes what I did with the chillis – sown 6 seeds of each type in a small pot, with a view to keeping a maximum of two plants of each type, even if all the seeds germinate. In most cases all six seeds germinated, but there have been a couple where only 3 have come through so far.

To read more articles like this, on Gardening and Gastronomy, please visit * http://marksvegplot.blogspot.com/ *



Source: http://marksvegplot.blogspot.com/2017/03/end-of-march-update.html


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