March/April in a Swaledale vegetable garden

Primroses in Healaugh

In the third week of March the weather excelled itself with warm calm days, perfect for putting the plastic on the polytunnel. By the end of the month the staging was up and the raised beds in and filled with soil.

The polytunnel in process of being completed in the third week of March.

What is growing so far?

The onions and garlic that were begun in pots, to keep them out of the
wet yet bring them on, are doing really well and are ready to be planted outside in early April. As the raised beds were not ready in the tunnel in the sunny third week of March the first salad crops of lettuce, rocket and spinach were trailed in a raised bed outside. They did germinate and are doing well. The last week of March brought snow and so we covered them overnight with fleece.

Tomato seedlings with their first true leaves.

Inside, in pots and on several sunny window ledges, we have tomato seedlings, chillies, cucumbers, aubergines and sweet peppers which were all germinated in the propagator in batches.

Potatoes ‘chitting. ’Shoots are appearing which will give the potatoes a head start once planted.

Summer cabbage is in process of germinating on a sunny windowsill and the first early potatoes (Foremost and Casablanca) are chitting. These will hopefully be planted out in mid-April if the weather is relatively dry.

Looking ahead to April

Broad beans will be planted outside at the beginning of April and weather permitting we will begin sowing peas, carrots, beetroot, radish, spinach and salad leaves. In the tunnel however, sweetcorn, dwarf French beans and summer cabbage and cauliflower can also be sown. The staging will be used to sow trays of brassicas to provide transplants of sprouting broccoli, cauliflowers and cabbages for planting out in June or July. Second earlies and maincrop potatoes will need chitting.

In pots indoors it will be time to sow marrows, courgettes, pumpkins and squash.

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