The allotment stakes are raised a little higher this month. The calendar tells us this is the beginning of a busy period of the allotment year. Yet after the almost incessant spells of wet weather and high winds many of us have had other things on our mind.
Experience teaches us to be patient. This is no rush, nature is a great leveller. We know it will all come good in the end!
It is worth checking the condition of your shed, outbuildings and greenhouse or polytunnel for any storm damage and making the necessary repairs after the recent weather. I’ve had some felt ripped off my shed roof-something that needs dealing with before it gets worse.
The greenhouse as ever, has been a place of refuge. Not just for we gardeners but seemingly for mice too. I have been the victim of a smash n grab raid by members of the local mice population. Early sowings of broad bean “Aquadulce Claudia” and early peas “Early Onward” have been systematically dug up, eaten and some have even been stashed in the corner of the greenhouse behind several plant pots! A setback, but the ones that are growing strongly were left untouched. So it is time to re-sow, only this time indoors on the ever increasingly crowded windowsill.
Other seeds that can be sown indoors in gentle heat this month include: summer cabbage, calabrese, sweet corn and of course not forgetting the allotment stalwart, the ultra-reliable onion sets. There is still time for shallots too.
Although garlic is better planted in autumn, a later planting now should still provide a decent crop.
Back in the outdoors, down on the plot, the Purple Broccoli variety “Rudolph” is still cropping strongly. The mild winter has allowed this unbelievable plant to crop from December through to the end of February and it is still going! Cutting the central head first, encourages a proliferation of tasty nutritious spears.
Swedes too are still cropping, along with the rest of the leeks, although these soon will be sending up a flower spike, so are best eaten quickly.
During drier spells prepare the ground for early potatoes, which can be planted at the end of the month or during April, depending on the weather. Remove any pernicious perennial weeds.
Then I like to use an organic based slow release granular potato fertiliser sprinkled liberally and lightly worked into the soil where the tubers will be planted to supplement the organic matter in the soil.
Fingers crossed now for some drier weather!