March Highlights

March has been wet. Very wet. A couple of light frosts but really it feels as though the winter is done and spring has well and truly arrived.

The garden has really kicked off and it’s noticeable how many invertebrates have appeared, and so far I’ve noticed butterflies (comma, brimstone and peacock) as well as bumblebees, honeybees, solitary bees, a tawny mining bee and a bee-fly. There are loads others but these in particular herald the warmer weather for me. 

Speaking of invertebrates, one noticeable difference from the cold, dry spring of 2023 is the sheer number of slugs and snails which are out and about. My newly transplanted peas have been a favourite snack of theirs and I wouldn’t mind if they only nibbled the leaves and didn’t chomp straight through the stems. Hopefully Mr/Mrs hedgehog will be a more regular visitor this year to help keep them under control. Other than the unfortunate ones that get crunched when I step out the back door at night, I don’t kill the slugs and snails. My tactic has been to patrol any new plantings and relocate the pests to my front garden (i.e. chuck them over the back gate). They’ll no doubt return but I feel like they are more likely to get picked off by a wandering hedgehog and the plants get a break whilst the snails amble back.

Seed sowing has ramped up and I’ve sown salad plants, some long season crops (like canna, tomatoes and luffa (fingers crossed I get these to grow this year)) but also some dye flowers (calendula, coreopsis, safflower, indigo), herbs (fennel, Thai basil), spring onions, carrots and  parsnips and probably some other things.

The sweet peppers I sowed last month are doing well and are potted on to go out to the greenhouse each day (coming in at night). As I used some of my own compost in the mix I got six bonus tomatoes from my pepper seeding, which was a pleasant surprise. I think these might be from my super crop of Best of All tomatoes (from the Heritage Seed Library) grown two years ago so I’m hopeful that they might be good producers. There will be some that pop up in the ground as well as I use the compost as a mulch, but they usually don’t start early enough to provide a harvest.

One final note on cabbages: most of my cabbage plants are several years old and they just regrow from the stumps. I’m perfectly happy with this as I can nip out as and when to harvest some leaves for dinner (I don’t have much use for big heads of cabbage).  However, this spring they seem to have all simultaneously ‘bolted’ (gone to seed). This is a blessing in disguise as cabbages had rather taken over. My plan is to leave them to flower as they are gorgeous, smell divine and attract  loads of beneficial insects, before clearing them away to make space for this year’s crops of other things. As I don’t remove the roots some will hopefully regrow but I will won’t let quite as many do that in future. I do still have some kale on the go to provide greens whilst the cabbages are past their prime.

The birds have started nesting with gusto and the starlings and sparrows are particularly vocal. The bits of wool I’ve laid out in the garden over the years have been picked up by crows, and a blue tit has returned this spring to harvest strands from woolen ties around the young espalier apple.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *