Sow short rows of lettuce every month and you will always have a supply of leaves to eat. Plants from January sowings are growing fast and it can be tempting to leave al rows to form large heads, but you are unlikely to eat them all before they bolt. Start picking a few leaves from each plant while they are small and tender. This means you get plenty of tasty young lettuce over several weeks. When plants are finished the next sowing will be ready to pick.
EARTH UP POTATOES
If you planted potatoes in buckets or straight in the border soil, then remember to ‘earth up’ as the stems grow. This means putting a bit more compost into the bucket or pilling earth around the base of stems. Potatoes turn green if they are exposed to light and you want to keep all those early roots buried.
WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
RAISING PLANTS FROM SEED
- Cheapest option if you want lots of plants.
- Is more work, but can be enjoyable.
- Gives a wide choice of varieties.
- You won’t import any pests or diseases.
- Can grow extra and choose the healthiest plants to grow on.
About raising plants you can navigate here.
BUYING IN YOUNG PLANTS
- Cheap option if you only want one or two plants.
- Good choice for those with limited time.
- Can avoid the need for a propagator.
- Limited choice of varieties.
- Pests and diseases can be imported on plants.
- Buy early or you may be left with the weakest plants.
SOW & GROW IN MARCH
- Sow French marigolds towards the end of the month. These will help keep off tomatoes
- Sow tomatoes, peppers, melons, cucumbers, basil, courgettes and French beans in a propagator at 20C(68F).
- Sow spinach, kohl rabi, salad leaves, early carrots and rocket directly in exercises where they’ll grow.
Autumn-sown varieties are in bloom this month. Clear back any other plants that pack too close, so loads of air can circulate and pollination cans improve on these self-rich plants. If you need to receive the best set of pods while the plants are in flower keep soil damp. Support tall varieties with string and sticks.
TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT
An asparagus bed is best established outdoors, but in some areas it’s just too cold and wet for plants to do well. If you are prepared to dedicate a sunny corner of the greenhouse to this vegetable then it can perform well under cover. Dig manure into the bed and plant crowns on mounds 30 cm apart. Cover with earth and add a little lime if needed to raise pH. Don’t let the soil become too wet and resist cutting spears in the first year.
- Prick out and pot on small plants as needed
- Open doors and windows on warm days
- Remove bolting crops
- Water carefully
- Feed grape vines and peach trees