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A cautious start to spring - the garden in March

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default Re: A cautious start to spring - the garden in March

Post by freebird on 13th March 2015, 1:07 pm

I never did that either, gunners. But I was watching Beechgrove Garden last year (Scottish version of Gardeners' World) and the presenter said to leave just one or two of the strongest shoots. The potato will put all its energy into making those grow, instead of the energy being spread between several shoots.

I didn't grow potatoes last year or this, so haven't had a chance to try it. I think I would do half and half and compare at harvest time.

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Post by gunners71uk on 13th March 2015, 3:29 pm

freebird wrote:

I didn't grow potatoes last year or this, so haven't had a chance to try it. I think I would do half and half and compare at harvest time.

sounds good idea

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Post by Chilli-head on 13th March 2015, 5:42 pm

I have heard some say that you should rub off all but three strong shoots, to channel the energy into them.   I never have done that; in the books I have to hand neither Geoff Hamilton nor John Seymour recommend it - and that's good enough for me !

In my day job, we have done quite a lot of work on killing potatoes, when they appear as unwanted "volunteers" in subsequent crops.   They are pretty robust things, because if you kill the growth from one eye - even with glyphosate - the other eyes will grow up in its place.  Sometimes this is useful if the early growth gets hit by frost.  I wonder if rubbing off spare shoots might not harm this useful property ?
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Post by Ploshkin on 14th March 2015, 12:20 pm

I've spent an hour or so cutting back 3 clematis that grow up the wall of my shed.  I should do it every year but it's really fiddly getting all the stems out of the wire netting so the job often doesn't get done.  They're all cut back to about 2' above the ground so will hopefully shoot up from there.

Can anyone recommend some good secateurs that have an easy action as I don't have a lot of strength in my hands especially when they're cold.  I manage to get through a couple of pairs every year because they just seem to fall apart.  I got some ratchet ones last year but they don't seem to work well on thin stuff, the ratchet often doesn't catch.  They're ok on thicker stems or branches of shrubs which I suppose is what they are designed for.
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Post by Dandelion on 14th March 2015, 12:33 pm

I have a pair of Gardena Classic bypass secateurs, bought with a birthday garden voucher a few years ago. I had never tried this brand before, but as they were bright turquoise, I thought that this would prevent them from getting lost in the garden. I have arthritis in my thumbs, so I don't have a lot of strength in my grip (and annoyingly have to ask others to unscrew lids) but I will definitely get another pair of these if they wear out, as they are sharp, comfortable - and easy to spot!

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Post by gunners71uk on 15th March 2015, 6:33 pm

when are you lot putting your onion sets in please

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Post by Chilli-head on 15th March 2015, 7:07 pm

Last October for my onions ... I know that's not what you need to know, but I generally plant sets for overwintering because they are a bit more robust, and multi-sow seed in modules in spring, any time now.

I planted my early potatoes yesterday. I put these in the garden veg plot because its sandy soil produces nice clean spuds. The mains will go in the lotty clay, where they'll yield better, if less pretty.
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Post by TamaraNicole on 16th March 2015, 12:05 pm

You plant onions from seeds CH?
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Post by Chilli-head on 18th March 2015, 11:05 am

TamaraNicole wrote:You plant onions from seeds CH?

Ah - sorry, I nearly missed that. Yes, I do what Geoff Hamilton described as multi-sowing. It works especially well for onions like long red Florence, which are torpedo shaped. I put a pinch (about 6) seed in each 50mm module cell any time now, and let them all grow on and plant them out together as clumps about 25cm apart. The onions push each other aside as they grow to find space. Pretty easy method, but I find the onion seedlings are a bit fragile for the overwintered varieties and usually vanish ! So those I grow from sets.

Having said that- I'm not going to do any from seed this year, because the overwintered sets came in such big pack sizes that I don't really need more onions. I have been busy planting my potatoes though, which I put in on Monday. I plant all of them at the same time - earlies, second earlies and maincrop; it doesn't seem to matter. Sometimes they will be nipped by a late frost, but they always bounce back.

I also dug over some ground for a second planting of broad beans - I just need to find time to knock it down a bit and pop the seed in.
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Post by gunners71uk on 18th March 2015, 12:56 pm

been down the lotty with my lovely wife we have put in 48 tubers of ulster sceptre in 1st earlies now back home for hot x bun cup tea
chili head the clump onion idea is good but some gardeners on lotty say it encourages onion fly ?

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Post by Chilli-head on 19th March 2015, 10:35 am

gunners71uk wrote:
chili head the clump onion idea is good but  some gardeners on lotty say it  encourages onion fly ?

I am lucky that onion fly is not a pest I've yet had problems with. I have sometimes had problems with rot of some sort though, and I have wondered if that might be made worse by planting in clumps, but I've never really been sure. Sometimes it is a problem on the ones grown from sets too. I can believe that spacing them out might improve airflow etc and be better for their health. But the growing in clumps produces a nice range of sizes for cooking.
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Post by Ploshkin on 19th March 2015, 11:22 am

I've finally started growing something. I've put new strawberry plants into my 3 hanging baskets to grow in the greenhouse. I needed to replace the plants that had done 2 or 3 years & they refused to produce runners last year so I had to buy some plants. The ones I was replacing were runners from the previous set of plants so they had had a good innings. The new plants are Mara de Bois or something like that (everbearers). I need to do some serious seed sowing now.
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Post by FloBear on 20th March 2015, 10:21 am

Need to replant the snowdrops that I dug up last Autumn and which have been flowering their little socks off in troughs. All gone over now so must get them in. Maybe this afternoon?! Noticed Snakeshead Fritillaries in bud Smile
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Post by gunners71uk on 20th March 2015, 7:56 pm

gt day on allotment we sowed cos lettuce,erected pea frame, dug area for cabbages and limed,weeded iris, planted budlehia, other weeding, yesterday put 60 charlotte spuds in

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Post by gunners71uk on 23rd March 2015, 7:14 pm

forked over area for parsnip about 2oft by 12 ft lol, forked heb garden got stew dumplings for tea Smile

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Post by Ploshkin on 23rd March 2015, 10:09 pm

At last, I've got some seeds started - tomatoes, cucumbers, broad beans and peas.
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Post by Chilli-head on 24th March 2015, 7:28 pm

What a tricky time of year this is, with seedlings in propagators in the greenhouse. Covers off, on, fiddling with vents, sometimes even needing to open the greenhouse door. I have the heater on a thermostat, and an automatic vent opener, but it is still a good job DW is home during the day. Even still some peppers got scorched the other day. They look to have mostly recovered though.

I need to find time for potting chillies on, sowing salad onions and broad beans, and probably a lot I've forgotten ... in fact Ploshkin has just reminded me I haven't done the greenhouse cucumbers yet !
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Post by Dandelion on 25th March 2015, 5:38 pm

Too much to do!! tornado

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Chilli-head on 27th March 2015, 12:06 pm

Dandelion wrote:Too much to do!! tornado

I know quite what you mean. I really must do the chillies this weekend; the tomatoes are 6-8" tall in their 5" pots and will probably need to move on too within the week !
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Post by Dandelion on 27th March 2015, 4:08 pm

Equilibrium has been maintained - the first day of the Easter break, and I have pricked out cabbage, Rudbeckia and Heliotrope, and sieved soil ready to sow outdoor tomato seeds tomorrow. Have also shown Mr D how to sow tomato seeds, as he is going to grow miniature toms in hanging baskets at school in the Autism unit garden.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Chilli-head on 29th March 2015, 8:43 pm

Welcome to summer ! Well, first day of British summer time at least.

I got out to a windswept garden today and sowed leeks and some radishes where later climbing beans will go. I have had good luck with the old fashioned seed bed approach to starting off leeks; I've put some cloches over them since it's still a bit chilly.

I retreated to the greenhouse and potted on my chillies. Also sowed the indoor cucumbers, celeriac, calabrese and sweet peas (my neighbour who waters mu plants whilst I'm on holiday really likes them).
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Post by Dandelion on 29th March 2015, 10:52 pm

The man who is going to re-lay our patio arrived unexpectedly this morning (good job we were in...). He has prised up the old broken slabs, and will be able to re-use them which is good. The laying starts in earnest tomorrow, and it'll be great to have it finally done (after 12 years of uneven slabs, and weeds between them so high you fall over them!). The downside is that for at least 24 hours I can't get into the garden Crying or Very sad

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by Ploshkin on 30th March 2015, 3:04 pm

I have germination. Auntie Madges tom's from the seed swap have beaten Sungold, which are always first and some cosmos have popped up too.
I'm also pleased because I've noticed new growth in some pots that contained giant cowslip seedlings from saved seed but disappeared in the first frost - I thought I had killed them and was cross with myself.
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Post by Dandelion on 30th March 2015, 5:11 pm

In the Heritage Seed Library booklet, Auntie Madge's were highly recommended. One person reckoned that if you could only grow one variety, this would be the one. They do seem to be reliable!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by freebird on 31st March 2015, 9:10 am

No seed sowing here at all. It feels really strange - can't remember a year when I haven't sown something. But I'm working on getting the visible, decorative part of the garden shipshape, and have turned my attention to the small pond which had become totally overgrown. The man cleared it in early winter, and last week I introduced some frogspawn, so planting in some new less invasive (I hope) plants now. Seen a couple of newts in there already.
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Post by FloBear on 31st March 2015, 6:48 pm

I have made a start on seed-sowing but not done a lot.
Three fruit bushes arrived today from an end of season offer by Wiggly Wigglers to get rid of their bare-root stock.
I am now the proud possessor of two red gooseberries and one blackcurrant to keep my other blackcurrant and two blueberries company. Must get on and install some protection so fruit is not nabbed by passing beasties.

My ponds were refurbished last year too, freebird. I am pleased to see some marginals and the oxygenating Elodea getting going so my tadpoles will have somewhere to hide. My OH has also noticed newts in the big pond.
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