March

Wow what a cold and wet February we had, I returned from the allotment on most days, wet, wind blasted and covered in mud!  Usually, March brings spring with lengthening periods of light, stronger sunshine and March winds.  And as soon as the average daily temperature achieves 6C (43F) it is time to plant.  For Warwickshire in an average year this is usually between 15th and 20th March.  Lots to do on the allotment, and you never know what the weather in March will be, so if you get a chance, do as much as you can, when you can. 

Sow:

  • Brussel sprouts – Maximus does well at St Mary’s.
  • Parsnip seeds at the end of the month if warmer and if the soil is dry – I grow White Gem, but Tender and True and Hollow Crown are both tried and tested varieties.
  • Spring onions – I don’t have much success with White Lisbon, but I do with bunching onions which are similar to spring onions, I grow Ishikura or Performer. Grow them in modules, with several seeds per module, they like the competition. 
  • Beetroot – you can’t beat Bolthardy. Sow these individually in modules and plant out when roots fill the module.   
  • Radishes – rainbow, makes a colourful display and are tasty too.
  • Summer cabbage – Candissa are small but sweet, and fit perfectly under a tunnel net, Brunswick for very big cabbages.
  • Continue sowing early peas (sold at the shop). Also try growing some dry peas, which you can buy in packets, sow them in a large seed tray as pea shoots for salads. 
  • Leeks, with the introduction of the Allium leaf minor and the leek moth in the last few years it’s a good idea to net them with enviromesh. If or when they do get damaged, do not pull them up, pull off the rotten outside leaves until you get to the clean centre, leave them, and they will grow again. 
  • Spinach – Perpetual is easy to grow and comes again once cut.
  • Broad beans, I have the most fantastic broad beans, which I sow and plant in March.   
  • Sow early carrot seeds under cloches (Pre-warm the ground by putting cloches over the ground for a week or two before planting, but remember those march winds and anchor them well) – Try any Nantes types for an early crop, Autumn Giant for autumn, and for over wintering try Eskimo.  
  • Sweetcorn – later in the month. Try Swift (always works) or Seville for bigger cobs.   
  • Tomatoes – sow toms for an indoor crop. Try Bombonera, Rosella, Tropical and     
  • Lettuce – try Amaze, Asparagus lettuce, and all year round, which you can actually grow all year round. Provide some protection in the form of a cloche, cold frame, greenhouse or polytunnel.    
  • Broccoli/Calabrese – try Ironman. When I have picked the first crop, I take them out and replace them with purple sprouting. 
  • Purple Spouting – early purple is an old favourite that works for me.
  • Cauliflower – try candid charm
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers – Burpless tasty green works and is a lot cheaper than most varieties.
  • Garlic – if you have heavy wet soil and can’t grow it over winter.
  • Kohl Rabi

Remember, if the soil sticks to your boots, don’t sow seed. 

Plant out all hardy veg:

  • Onions – sets sold in the shop.
  • Shallots
  • Plant new asparagus in prepared beds or top dress established beds with farmyard manure
  • Plant Jerusalem artichokes
  • Chit potatoes, if you haven’t tried Charlotte yet, try them, they are amazing, and for sale at the allotment shop. If frost is expected cover your potatoes with fleece.    

Fruit:

  • Plant trees as soon as soil conditions permit.
  • Feed established trees and bushes with a good fertilizer, we have several granular and liquid types in the allotment shop including Tomorite, Potato fertiliser, Growmore, Fish Blood and Bone and Vitax Q4.
  • Plant raspberries and strawberries

Herbs

As soon as the soil warms up sow small amounts of chives, dill marjoram, parsley and sorrel

  • Divide fennel roots
  • Split chive roots
  • Split old clumps of bergamot and sorrel

Greenhouse

  • Clean greenhouse with soapy water and use a scraper to get algae off the glass, you can buy a good scraper from the pound shop, and washing up liquid will do to clean your greenhouse. Finally use a fumigator to get rid of red spider mite, greenfly etc, we sell these in the allotment shop, open wed and sun 10am until 12.
  • If you haven’t tested your soil you should do this as a matter of importance because if your soil is too acidic it will need lime. Lime sweetens the soil, adds alkalinity and some say reduces mares’ tail because mares tail prefers an acidic soil.

Don’t forget our shop is open Wednesday and Sunday 10am until 12.  We have lots of items at very reasonable prices, and any profit goes back into the allotments. 

Finally, a quote from Jean Jacques Rousseau
“Plant and your partner plants with you, weed and you weed alone!”