March in the Garden Smallholding

The glorious sunny weather over the past few days really helped to warm the soil, I took full advantage by sowing more radish and the first of the beets (boltardy) covering the rows with a tunnel cloche which will help to keep the soil warm. I’m trying a different variety of radish called ‘Bright Lights’ (colour mix) alongside the usual varieties that I like, it will be interesting to see the different colours produced. I have been busy building a few more raised beds for the vegetable garden and taken my first harvest of rhubarb.

 

So, what else has been happening in the garden smallholding this month? Well, I planted Charlotte potatoes, raspberry canes and strawbs raised from runners, I’ve also been sowing broad beans, peas, mange tout, red cabbage, brussels sprouts and purple sprouting broccoli as well as annuals and perennials to add a splash of colour,  encouraging beneficial insects to the veg garden plots. Speaking of wildlife, a pair of  blue tits are currently setting up home in one of our bird boxes which is very exciting to watch, another pair have decided to use the eaves of our house.

The greenhouse that I have saved long and hard for is currently being installed, I can’t wait to get inside it later and start sowing. I feel like a big kid!

Potato Planting Begins

Seed potatoes have been chitting in trays on my windowsill since January and now have lovely fat shoots on them, last weekend I took advantage of the lovely weather and planted the Charlotte salad potatoes. Charlotte are a yellow-skinned, oval-shaped new potato which are perfect for barbecues and adding to salads, they’re a second early potato and can be planted out from mid March through to April, depending on the weather for your area.

There are many different ways and methods of planting potatoes – deep trugs, potato bags, containers, digging trenches etc, I plant mine into a long raised bed. Before I plant my seed potatoes I place them on top of the soil (approx 12 -15 inches apart depending on variety) spacing them out evenly, then I dig a planting hole for each seed potato using a hand fork (approx 6 inches deep) and pop a seed potato in with the shoots pointing upwards. After planting, I mound soil over the rows straight away. As soon as the top growth (leaves) emerge through the top of the mounds of soil, I carry on earthing up (covering the potato leaves with soil) using excess soil between the rows for as long as possible. 

If a late frost is forecast I cover the rows of potatoes with large pieces of thick cardboard, removing the cardboard first thing in the morning. Main crop potatoes will go out sometime next month once I figure out where to put them. Which varieties are you growing this year?