A dangerous time for impatient gardeners

It’s the end of the first week of March.  The sun is shining and in my polytunnels and greenhouses the temperature is in the 80’s.  But as darkness falls so does the thermometer!  This time of year can be a dagerous period.  Seduced by longer days and the need to get sowing we hope for the best and scatter our seed injudiciously.  Caution is required.

Protected crops can forge ahead.  Early potatoes in the polytunnel are already pocking their noses through the soil; broad beans are pushing skyward and lettuce are beginning to fill out.  But unless your precious germinating seeds are protected by cloches they may refuse to grow and simply rot.  If in doubt, wait a week or two.  Later sowings will catch up.  Better to prepare seed beds and finish getting the ground in perfect condition to get working later in the month.

Having said all that, I do risk the weather.  Just a couple of days ago I transplanted into open ground some early summer cabbage that I had growing over the winter in pots in the greenhouse and more recently, hardening off in a cold frame.  My garden greenhouse is absolutely chock-a-block with seedlings.  I have started celeriac and fennel, more tomatoes for growing outside – the awesome Salt Spring Sunrise and an orphan from the HSL called Victory.  Also early sweet-corn which I will plant in a polytunnel next month for a crop in July – the first of a succession of sowings of sweetcorn over the next two months.  Also germinating on the greenhouse bench are various French beans and more cabbage, broccoli and calabrese need to be moved into a cold frame to harden off.

I need to make space because tomorrow I will transplant my peppers and chillies and start some squash going in the propagator.  I am on my travels for a couple of weeks so needs must.  Hopefully, when I return the greenhouse will be a mini-jungle, my early spuds will be green mounds of loveliness, my lettuce will be begging to be eaten – I did have one tonight for supper, (yum yum) – and my broad benas will have started to flower!

Us gardeners can but dream!

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