March

March is when pace of growing on the allotment really picks up. You should check all your planning is finished, and that you have a clear idea of what to plant where and when. March can be used for growing crops early in heated propagators, or planting crops that are usually planted then.

Plants such as chillies and tomatoes can be planted in March, as well as whatever else you may have that says it can be on the seed packet.

Planting Out

When planting out, you need to check that you are careful or your plants may end up dying. They should be left outside for 3 – 8 or more hours every day before they are planted out so that they can acclimatize. However, make sure there are no frosts or extreme temperatures likely.

Make sure you have a plan of where the plants are going, and check that the hole you have dug is deep enough for the plant. After it is planted, firm down the soil around it, and water well.

When to plant out varies between plants and climate, as well as personal preferences, so check the seed packet or plant label for the best specific information. Normally, it is not a good idea to plant out when the ground is frozen or cold.

Decorative Allotments

When most people think of an allotment, decorative is not a word that they think of. However, allotments can be decorative and it only requires a few steps to make them so.

  • Use rows or shaped groups of plants,
  • Use interestingly shaped raised beds (make sure that they are safe),
  • Plant different coloured plants together.

New Weekly Project

This week (starting 14th Feb), the weekly project is to grow a crop early in a heated propagator. Try to find something normally planted in March, and if you want to experiment, plant it now. It may not work, or it may work better than normal. Click here for more heated propagator info, and feel free to let me know how you get on in the comments.

Planting Peas

Peas are one of the easiest and tastiest allotment vegetables to grow, but they do need support to ensure they grow successfully.

Peas should be planted from March to May, either indoors or outdoors where they will stay. When planting outdoors, make sure that it is after the last frost. The peas will germinate after one to two weeks, and will need support. A bamboo cane structure normally works best, but make sure it is safe.

Water the peas regularly and check that they are climbing up the support, and after a few months, you will have your own peas.

Pricking Out

When you have seedlings which are too large to stay in the seed tray or pots anymore, and are large enough to handle, you should prick them out into larger pots. Make sure you prepare enough pots first, as plants with uncovered roots often wilt. Poke a hole in the soil surface with your finger for the new seedling.

 

  1. Using the tip of a pencil, lift the plant’s roots out carefully from under the soil, while supporting the leaves with your fingers.
  2. Once the roots are loose, lift the plant by a leaf and place it into the new pot. Make sure it is not too deep.
  3. Gently push down the soil around the plant to firm it down, and water well.

Potting On

After your plants have grown, they may need to be potted on. This should be done when the plants are too large for their current pot. I use biodegradable pots so I do not have to struggle to remove plants, but if you are using normal pots, hold the plant by a leaf (if it is small) or a branch/stem if it is larger. Get help if the plant is very large.

Firstly, you should fill your chosen new pot about half full with good quality soil or compost, and then water slightly. You then place your plant on the compost and fill around the edges. If your plant is too large to be potted on this way, you should put less soil in to start with.

Then, check that the plant is watered regularly, but not allowed to flood.