Greenfingers - March 2017

By the time you read this, the RSPB bird watch will be a distant memory, but as I write, it was only last weekend, and was much more successful than a year ago. We saw 11 species during the hour, which unfortunately did not include the families of long tailed tits which descend on the garden for an occasional welcome but brief visit, searching for insects and grubs in the dried stalks, litter and branches.

Their visits justify our policy of leaving seed heads and plant stalks in the flower beds in the autumn, which will be removed as the new spring growth appears during March (it’s not just laziness).

‘New Spring Growth’ sounds good, and it’s not only the hardy daffodils and snowdrops that come to mind – it’s the delicate seedlings germinating in trays in the greenhouse with their potential to delight through flower and form, or satisfy the taste buds.  Spring Growth

In other words, there are plenty of tasks to be getting on with in the garden, starting with covering those areas where seeds and seedlings are to be planted. This will allow the ground to dry out and warm up, making preparation much easier and more satisfying. But when the weather is too cold or wet for outdoor sowing, rein in those springtime tendencies with the preparation of a few indoor or greenhouse seed trays and pots, which could be salads, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines, celery, or plan for a continuous crop of cut flowers, and start the seeds off accordingly.

For more ideas and advice, the Minchinhampton Gardening Club has arranged a talk on ‘vegetables in a small garden’ on 20th March in the school hall at 7.30.

The Vernal Equinox on the 20th is the signal to move into BST on 26th. Venus will be at inferior solar conjunction on 25th, so in a few weeks will become a morning ‘star’, and Mercury will be close to the fairly New Moon soon after sunset on 29th.

Pete Smith