1 March 2021 Newsletter

1 March 2021 Newsletter

Dear Plotters

The final, warmer and drier days at the end of February were a welcome relief and meant that eager plotters were to be seen on Calico Field getting their beds ready for the new season of growth. The Committee was busy too, disinfecting the polytunnel and helping John on Plot 16 to raise the soil level on his plot to counter the flooding. Thanks go to Mark and Harminder (Plot 8) for sourcing another load of wood chippings, free to everyone.

Allotment newcomers: we warmly welcome Jane Scuffell to Plot 24B and wish her well for her flower growing project.

Don’t forget to collect your free packet of flower seeds in the shed, kindly donated by Plot 14, to aid the bees and pollinating insects!

Many thanks go to Sue (Plot 19) for giving our website a new look. This is to be found at www.swallowfieldallotment.org and is a joy to look at, with a wonderful selection of photos through the seasons. She would be happy to receive any of your photos to keep the gallery up to date, so use the committee@swallowfieldpaa.org address to send her your latest pictures!

As the lockdown restrictions start to be eased, we could perhaps start to think about an Open Morning in late June, early July, depending on regulations, so please could you start to sow extra flower and vegetable seeds, or splitting established plants, for a possible plant sale to raise much needed funds. In the event that a public opening is not allowed, we may still hold a plant sale for members only, as we did last year. Thank you!

March is the time for frantic seed sowing, whether you sow seeds indoors to get ahead or whether you start to sow seeds outside under cloches or in ready warmed up beds.

WHAT TO SOW OUTDOORS: Vegetables such as broad beans, summer, autumn and red cabbages, leeks, lettuces, parsnips, peas, spinach, spring onions and sprouting broccoli. March is your last chance to plant garlic sets and bare rooted berry bushes.

WHAT TO SOW OUTDOORS UNDER COVER: Beetroot, carrots, cucumbers. lettuces, summer radishes, rocket and salad leaves and turnips.

WHAT TO SOW INDOORS: aubergines, chillies and peppers need a long growing season so the fruit can ripen, so sow these now. Also sow Brussels sprouts, celeriac, cucumbers, Florence fennel, globe artichokes, Kohl rabi, lettuces, sprouting broccoli and sweet potatoes. Sow tomatoes at the end of the month so that they don’t become too big and potbound before they can be planted out in May or June after the last frosts. Consider using your allocated space in the polytunnel for growing on your tomatoes.

PLANT OUT ready bought strawberry plants and currant bushes. If the ground is not too cold and wet, plant out your chitted seed potatoes in a drill 6 inches deep with the shoots pointing up.

HARVEST the last of your leeks, parsnips, Brussels sprouts and celeriac and the first of your rhubarb. Pick over wintering kale and sprouting broccoli. Pick spring varieties of loose leaved cabbages.

JOBS FOR MARCH: Prepare your seed beds and rake the soil to a fine tilth.
Make your runner bean and celery trenches; trim and divide herbs; cover your over- wintered strawberry plants with cloches to stimulate flower growth. Remove the cloches when the flowers appear for pollination to occur. Prune blueberry bushes down to a strong, healthy bud and cut out damaged or diseased stems. Remove yellowing leaves from brassicas.
Weed and feed your over -wintering crops, fruit bushes and trees in containers. Net your outdoor seeds and tender plants to protect against pigeons and rabbits!

There’s plenty to be getting on with! Happy gardening!

Best wishes
Claire Hamilton (SPAA Secretary