My planned activities for this month - March

Activity Comment
Plant seedlings from modules into greenhouse pots: Beetroot, Lettuce, Parsley, Spring Onions. 04-03-16: Completed and covered with fleece.
Greenhouse Seed sowing direct in pots: French Beans, Spinach, Beetroot, Radish. 04-03-16: Completed and covered with fleece.
Plant First Early Potatoes out side in their bed. ( warm soil fist ) 23-03-16: Planted Premiere (4) Vanessa (12)
Tidy up paths between beds removing any dirt and weeds  
Finish weeding and straightening path edges.  
Prepare rest of beds ready for use 02-03-16: Brassicas, Pumpkin, Leek and Bean beds are completed. 11-03-16: started digging onion bed
Plant onion sets and Shallots.  
Weed and compost Rhubarb and Raspberry bed 05-03-16: Weeded Raspberry and Rhubarb bed

March Allotment Blog 2016

30th March

potates earthed up in greenhouse

A nice and pleasant morning at the allotment it was nice and bright with very little wind. I spent most of my time this morning rotovating beds 14B and 15B ready for planting my Onion and Shallot sets, and later sowing my Swedes and Turnips, and also beds 7A and 7B ready for my main crop potatoes. I then checked on my crops growing in the greenhouses, which were all doing fine, all I did then was to earth-up and feed my first early potatoes that were growing in bags in one of the greenhouses. This is illustrated by the image on the right. It was then time for me to return home for a Chicken curry dinner.

28th March

Wind netting used on rear of greenhouse

A quick visit to the allotment this morning just to check up on the allotment after a night of very strong winds ( storm Katie ) My main concern was for my plants that were covered with fleece, I could imagine large sheets of fleece floating around the allotments and my poor little seedlings being cut back by the wind. When I arrived at 7-30 in the morning my plants were well covered and protected with no damage. Unfortunately my greenhouse had one pane of glass missing, so i returned home with the intention of returning later in the day once the winds had dropped to replace the greenhouse glass.

at about 3.30 once the winds had died down a little I returned to the allotment and found that there were now four panes of glass missing from the greenhouse, so I set about trying to repair the greenhouse, I was able to replace some of the glass but I also had to use windbreak netting to cover the back of the greenhouse to slow down any wind from entering the greenhouse and blowing out other panes. This is illustrated by the image on the left.

24th March

plants moved to allotment greenhouse  self watering wicking system

I Had another great morning at the allotment although It was colder with some wind. I moved my plants that were growing in our conservatory down to the allotment greenhouse and placed them into their bubble house to help to protect them from the cold weather. This is illustrated by the image on the left. I then made a wicking system that hopefully will help the plants self water. The wicking system is made up of a container of water situated just under the level of the plants, A wicking mat is placed in the water and also runs up and along the base of the container holding the plants. As the plants dry the water will be wicked up to keep the plants moist. See image on the right. We have not had any rain for the last week and the ground has dried into large lumps so I could not break the soil down ready for planting my onion sets, so I just picked some Broccoli, and then it was time to return home for lunch.

23rd March

early potatoes planted  Pea bed prepped

I Had a great morning at the allotment It was warm although a little overcast. I started the morning by composting the planting positions for my pea rows in Bed-2 I then covered with membrane. When the peas are ready to be planted or sown I will cut into the membrane and fold it back leaving a 3in -4in gap sufficient to plant, or sow, the row of peas. The rest of the membrane will be left in place to save on weeding. This is illustrated by the image on the right.

My next task was to setup and plant my "First early potatoes" bed 10-A. I have some large bottomless pots which I have sunk into the ground and I have used six of these for my first early potatoes " Premiere and Vanessa", sowing 2-3 seed potatoes in each, covering with compost, earth and some fertilizer and they will be earthed up as they grow. They were then covered to help protect them from any frosty conditions. I have also prepared another six large pots ready for my second early potatoes "Anya". This is illustrated by the image on the left. The rest of my potatoes will be grown conventionally. It was then time to return home for lunch.

22nd March

small plants growing in the greenhouse

A very sunny and warm morning at the allotment today. I spent most of the morning sorting out the greenhouse ready to start some more sowing and erected a larger bubble screen to protect the seedings once they have been sown. The image illustrates 1. on the right is the new bubble screen. 2. at the back of the greenhouse are my peas and pea shoots ( we had some pea shoots for lunch today and they had a great flavour ) 3. on the left are my pots with a variety of seedlings in each of them. The next task was to mark out in bed 2 where my peas will be planted so I turned the earth ready for planting out later. I ran out of time to add a membrane to the bed so I will do that on my next visit. So I went home for lunch.

21st March

Sived comnpost added to pea bed

I Had a great morning at the allotment It was warm although a little over cast. I spent my time sieving the compost from the bin that was left to finish composting from last year. I then spread the sieved compost over the bed where my peas are going to be sown ( Bed 2 ) The images illustrate the sieving of compost and the bed with the compost added. I finally managed to complete the overflow from my water-but too the water trough. It was then time for me to return home for lunch.

15th March

Dug another two beds

Another productive morning at the allotment the weather was overcast with a little wind. My main task and the only task I did was to dig and frame the top beds Bed 7A and 7B. I spent my time doing that and also testing my video camera. It works best with separate audio which at the moment I am using my phone to record sound and the new video camera just to record the video. So I have to spend extra time on the computer putting the two elements together. The image shows the top beds dug composted and framed up.

14th March

Cleared manure ready to use bed

Another productive morning at the allotment the weather was overcast with some wind. I started off by trying out my new £50 video camera (DBpower sj4000 WIFI) This is a cheap version of the Go-pro camera. I did a short tour of the allotment to test the camera. After that I spent my time composting and manuring my Raspberry, Rhubarb and Asparagus beds. I then dismantled my Manure bin that was on bed 7 leaving some of the compost and manure on the bed ready to dig in on my next visit. The image shows the bed where my manure bin was positioned. I finished off by picking some Broccoli before returning home for lunch.

12th March

Harvest leeks and Parsnips

Another productive morning at the allotment the weather was overcast with very little wind. My first job was to finish the digging of bed 14-B. Next I cleared the last of my leeks and Parsnips from bed 15-B. The ground was just like a good moist cake mix so I decided not to dig this bed until the ground dried up a bit. I checked on the planting I did on the 10th March, all seems well, there are a lot of snail trails but my seedlings were not affected, so I am glad that I added slug pellets around the plants. I was given some mint so I potted it up into one of my wicking pots to keep the plant contained. Finally I transplanted my lettuces into a couple of wicking pots to continue growing. The potatoes and other crops in the greenhouse are coming along nicely showing a little more growth. The image shows part of my harvest as I had given some Parsnips and leeks away to another plot holder. My Broccoli pickings I have kept for myself. It was then time to return home for lunch.

11th March

Digging onion bed.

Another fantastic morning at the allotment it was warm and sunny. I started by sorting out and making the guttering system for the greenhouse. I had purchased some greenhouse guttering tube and connectors and used old guttering to finally connect to the water troughs This has now been completed. Next I started to dig the onion and shallot bed (14-B) although it was very wet and sticky. I needed to clean the spade after each couple of spade turns, I will finish it on my next visit. My wife popped round to check out the allotment, after which we both returned home for our lunch.

10th March

Planted Parsnips, Calabraise and Caulifower under fleece.

Another fantastic morning at the allotment it was warm and sunny with very little wind. My first task was to plant out my Parsnips I did this by raking my composted soil level. Then using a dibber I made holes large enough to accommodate the parsnip plant and the toilet roll that was used to sow them in. I then inserted the plant and Toilet roll into the dibbed hole making sure that the cardboard was fully covered be the soil. ( This will help the cardboard to rot away leaving the Parsnip to grow unhindered). I was recording this but unfortunately my camera toppled over and the viewing screen was damaged so I cannot see what is being recorded. So I had to abandon the filming. My next task was to plant out some early Calabraise and Cauliflower plants, these were planted in dibbed holes approx 18in apart. Finally I covered both sets of crops with a double layer of Fleece to help protect them from the cold nights. The image shows the fleece where the crops were planted, The fleece on the left of the image shows where my Parsnips have been planted and the Fleece on the right in the image is where my Brassicas have been planted. My very last job was to prick out my Celeriac seeds which I did, and again placed under Fleece in the greenhouse to protect them from the cold evenings. It was then time to return home for lunch.

5th March

Weeded Raspberry and Rhubarb bed

It was damp and cold today, what a difference to yesterday. I spent my morning weeding the Raspberry bed. I also cleared old Rhubarb to allow for new growth. I will compost and manure both beds plus my Asparagus bed on my next visit. I did not need to weed my Asparagus bed as it was clear of weeds, which makes a change. The image shows the weeded beds. I did notice that my early potatoes growing in bags in the greenhouse are starting to show their leaves. It started to rain so I went home for a nice cup of tea.

4th March

Seedlings planted in wicking pots

A beautiful morning at the allotment today it was sunny, warm with no wind and I spent my time working in the greenhouse where the temperature was a steady 80 degrees Centigrade. I spent my time planting seedlings taken from home and planting up into my wicking pots hopefully to give me an extra early crop of vegetables. I also sowed some seeds directly into the wicking pots for an early crop.

The items planted were: Lettuce: Mixed. Beetroot: Boltardy. Parsley: Extra Triple Curled. Cucumber: Burp-less Tasty Green. Spring Onions: White Lisbon.

Items sown directly were. Spinach: Perpetual. Radish: French Breakfast. Dwarf French Beans: Royalty. The image on the left shows my Wicking Pots planted up and waiting to be covered with fleece to protect them from the cold evenings. It was such a nice morning I could have stayed all day but I needed to get home for lunch.

2nd March

Ground Prepared for Squash, Pumpkins and Courgettes

Had a great morning at the allotment I started by preparing my Squash, Pumpkin and Courgette bed ( Bed 6 ). I did not cut back the green manure as I will be planting through a membrane. I marked out where I will grow the crop and dug a spade depth square and filled each hole with one year old manure and compost making it into a dome ready to plant the crop, either by sowing two seeds directly into the soil or by planting a module grown plant into the dome. Finally I covered the area with fabric membrane ready to plant later in the season. See the two images above.

My next job was to prepare my summer Brassicas bed, again I did not cut back or dig in the green manure because I will plant my Brassicas through the membrane covering the earth. So all I did was cover the area with a membrane ( Bed 4 ). Finally I cut down the green manure where I will be growing my peas and Celeriac ( Bed 2 ). I will compost and dig on my next visit.

March

What needs doing this month

Fruit:

  • Complete planning of new fruit areas
  • Complete planting as soon as soil conditions permit
  • Firm trees and bushes lifted by frost
  • Complete pruning of trees and bushes
  • Feed established trees
  • Spray apples, cherries, peaches, nectarines, pears, plums and damsons.
  • Train new shoots of blackberries and loganberries on to wires.
  • Protect flowers on wall-trained peaches and nectarines and pollinate artificially if insects are scarce
  • Plant raspberries and strawberries

Vegetables:

  • Sow seeds for main crop Brussels Sprouts
  • Sow seeds of late summer cabbages
  • Sow leeks
  • Sow summer spinach
  • Sow parsnips if ground is not too wet
  • Sow main crop leeks, peas and carrots.
  • Sow salad onions and radishes
  • Plant early potatoes in the middle of the month
  • Feed winter lettuce with a general fertilizer to boost growth.
  • Place main crop potatoes in trays to 'chit'.
  • Plant out young lettuce under cloches.
  • If soil has dried enough to work, prepare seedbeds by raking to a fine tilth.
  • Sow Parsnips, Onions and Broad beans.
  • Plant Horseradish and Jerusalem Artichokes
  • Sow lettuce under cloches.
  • Boost the growth of spring cabbage by top dressing with a high nitrogen fertilizer such as nitro chalk.
  • Plant more early potatoes to give a succession of crop.
  • Start Mint (preferably in a container such as a bucket to restrict root spread)
  • Plant main crop Peas.
  • Sow a catch crop of Lettuce, radish or spinach in-between the rows of peas.
  • Sow turnips in rich ground.
  • If Rhubarb has been forced, remove covers to prevent the plants becoming too weak.
  • Sow Onion sets.
  • Plant out new crowns of asparagus.
  • Plant out strawberry plants.
  • Plant more early potatoes to give a succession of crop.
  • Plant early potatoes.
  • Prepare celery trenches and work in plenty of well-rotted manure.
  • Broad beans and Peas started off in pots can now be hardened off ready for transplanting.
  • Plant out onion sets.
  • Sow spinach.
  • Plant out Jerusalem Artichokes.
  • Lime any sites to be used for Brassicas if this was not done in the autumn.

Greenhouse:

  • Make successional sowing of salad vegetables
  • Sow herbs, summer cabbage, cauliflowers and winter celery
  • Sow melons, cucumbers, sweet peppers and aubergines
  • Sow tomatoes for unheated greenhouse and outside
  • Sow basil

Herbs:

  • Prepare seed bed as soon as soil is warm
  • Sow small amounts of chives, chervil, dill, marjoram, parsley and sorrel.
  • Layer shoots of pot marjoram and divide fennel roots
  • Split old clumps of sorrel

General:

  • Keep an eye out for slugs on early sowing in cloches.
  • Pre-warm the soil by covering with cloches or black polythene.
  • Have you cleaned your shed yet?
  • Is your equipment working ready for the spring?
  • is it time to give your grass paths a cut