March into April with your barrow ready loaded include the tools you are going to need to tackle the garden and be prepared for a busy introduction to an early Spring.
Another mild Winter brings forth an abundance of Spring flowering bulbs and plants all at once! It also brings with it a host of maintenance jobs that would normally be delayed by cold temperatures and frozen ground.
Our glasshouse is at full speed, I have been sowing lot’s of exciting hardy and tender perennials alongside a vast range of vegetables for a season of productivity both inside and outside of the organic walled kitchen garden.
Big shout out to Happy Green Shop on eBay for providing the best service I’ve received to date from any online purchase.
Impossible to predict, the weather aside our new location for our potato crop was relieved of some rather inappropriately sited large mop-head Hydrangea. Re-located to a much more suitable dappled shade woodland setting the hydrangea’s can finally relax away from the hustle and bustle of a busy kitchen garden.
Last week in March I planted our first earlies in this newly renovated bed, In reality I could have planted these several weeks earlier as the weather has been so forgiving.
We set about double digging and incorporating well-rotted manure to improve water retention in this rather sandy loam. All in all hence the slight delay.
However this year we have been blessed with a mild Winter and a wet warm start to Spring 2017.
Sighing with relief that the Hydrangea bed is finally ready for its first sowing of Spinach and first four rows of Charlotte first earlies. I have opted to use the north facing wall of the kitchen garden to house our potato crops and seasonal leafy veg that prefer some shade during the Summer months.
Utilising this new vegetable space, allowed us to free up the four central rectangular box edged beds as a 4 year crop rotation cycle.
To minimise the transfer of soil from bed to path and from bed to bed, I have opted for green manure pathways in the form red and white clover sown as a practical weed suppressant and a natural source of nitrogen from the air that it stores in its roots that grow so deep they also absorbs nutrients not usually accessed by vegetables.
In sandy soil green manure once the leafy green foliage is chopped and turned into the soil also act as an organic matter for holding water. In a clay soil the fine chopped particles of clover help prevent the clay particles sticking together therefore making the cold clay soil easier to work.
Snowball onions, Golden gourmet shallots, Spring onions and Leeks will dominate this border with Sweetcorn and pumpkin to finish. The Rose arbour will be clothed in Sweet Pea ‘Chelsea collection’ to extend the flowering season and provide heavenly scent whilst attracting pollinators from far and wide.
A relatively mild March gave us the opportunity to lift six large Acer palmatum varieties and re-site them in our shady new Acer glade.
Our sandstone rock fernery need detail weeding prior to planting the 150 1L pot grown hardy ferns. These were joined by drifts of Primula vulgaris and Meconopsis cambrica to add seasonal colour and interest.
March sure has been a busy month and while all this was taking place we also enjoyed forced Rhubarb, bark mulched the Hazel tunnel having replaced a few steps. We treated for vine weevil with a repeat order reminder from Harrod Horticutural as we rescued a border of mint overrun with this greedy grub.
Summer flowering bulbs were planted for using in containers, in the cut flower garden and to fill gaps in perennial borders.
While the team rush to get ahead of the game the garden has other ideas and appears to always be one step ahead! The riot of Spring colour that the early flowering bulbs introduced was quickly followed by an onslaught of stunning displays from Rhododendrons, Camellia and Magnolia.
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Head Gardener and International Horticultural Consultant
“It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion grow together, when you find it in a Garden it’s like finding Paradise“
iGrowHort – A Head Gardener’s Horticultural Journey of love, life and learning