Greenfingers - March 2019

The mulch in the compost heap is ready to spread around the roses and shrubs, and currently supports only a few weeds. However, in the past, within a couple of weeks of putting it on the garden, the mulch has been thick with weed seedlings. I’m reminded of poppies, which do not germinate unless the soil is turned over, exposing the seeds to light. So, does it make sense to mulch the roses at night? Watch this space!

I can see the logic in this approach, but I struggle with the lunar planting calendar. In researching this, it appears that in trying to put a scientific slant on the technique, tidal effects on the water table are suggested as instrumental in producing healthier crops when planted at the correct time – and although I’ve never tried it, I’m not convinced.

Kestrel0319Walking along the Knapp earlier in the year, a kestrel was having a break from hovering, but keeping a keen eye on the ground.

One of the gardening tasks for early spring is to scarify, weed and feed the lawn. Some effort applied now pays back (in spades) over the summer with a satisfying, even green lawn that needs little additional effort, save mowing once a week or so, and which sets off the beds nicely.

Roses can be pruned, and dogwood, Cornus, and willow, Salix, cut back. Give a thought to summer flowering bulbs, and start off sweet peas and bedding plants from seed. Overgrown perennials can be lifted and divided. In the vegetable plot, plant onion and shallot sets and early potatoes, and start off broccoli, broad beans, brassicas, celeriac, chard, chilli peppers, courgettes, leeks, lettuce, French beans, and tomatoes.

The Spring Equinox on the 20th heralds more daytime than night, further emphasised by the change to daylight saving time on 31st March, when we can revel in longer, lighter evenings. The moon and Jupiter are in conjunction in the early hours of 27th.

Pete Smith