1 March 2023 Newsletter

Dear Plotter

There was a pleasing turn out for the last working party and some useful jobs were done. Thank you to Linda, Lucinda, Reg, Duncan, Brian, Alison and Jane, as well as committee members, who helped disinfect the polytunnel, clear plot 29 and shift wood, amongst other tasks. The next working party is on Saturday 4th March from 9.30am. Please bring a spade and loppers or hedge trimmers and a stout pair of gloves. Thank you.

We are grateful to Deepwater for supplying us with a huge quantity of wooden slats. The ones in the shed are for committee use only but if you would like to help yourself to some from the piles outside the sheds, please pay £1 for every 10 slats that you take. 

At the last meeting, the committee discussed the recent flooding. We are currently considering various options to alleviate the poor drainage. If you have any expertise in this area, we would be glad to hear from you.

We are also planning our Open Morning on Saturday 13th May 11-1pm.
We shall be asking for help to man the refreshment and plant stalls nearer the time. In the meantime, please look out raffle and tombola prizes and think about any surplus seeds you could sow. Last year, our visitors asked for strawberry plants and sweet pea and sweetcorn seedlings. We’d also like to try a houseplant stall, so if you are splitting, dividing or repotting houseplants, how about potting up a few extras for selling on? Thank you.

Our site manager, John, has asked for donations of old plastic compost bags; they need to be split open at the top only and shouldn’t contain any other holes. They will be used for storing our compost generated from the hoppers. Please leave them in the shed. Thank you.

We’re still hoping that the keys from the key box will turn up in somebody’s pockets! Have you seen them? We need them back, so please have a thorough search through your old gardening clothes!!

And finally, Swallowfield Horticultural Society is hosting their Spring Show in the Parish Hall on Saturday 25th March 2-4pm. If you are interested in entering, please refer to the website (www.swallowfieldshow.co.uk) to get details of the classes, which include vases of camellias or daffodils, house plants, vegetables and a Cookery, Craft and Photography section. Entries must be in by Thursday 23rd March.

March is the month for seed sowing. Unless it’s very cold, you could sow hardy crops outside if you’ve previously warmed up the beds and can protect them with cloches.

VEGETABLE SEEDS TO SOW OUTDOORS: Broadbeans, cabbages, calabrese. leeks, lettuces, parsnips, peas, spinach. spring onions and sprouting broccoli.

VEGETABLE SEEDS TO SOW OUTDOORS UNDER COVER: include beetroot, carrots, cucumbers, lettuces, summer radishes, rocket and turnips.

Towards the end of the month, sow herbs such as chives, coriander, dill, fennel, oregano and parsley. Cover with a fleece at night if frost is forecast.

VEGETABLE SEEDS TO SOW INDOORS: to give Mediterranean plants a head start and as much time to ripen as possible, sow aubergines, chillis and peppers and tomatoes now. You can also sow Brussels, cabbages, celery and celeriac, Florence fennel, globe artichokes, Kohl rabi, lettuces and sweet potatoes.

VEGETABLES TO PLANT OUTDOORS include asparagus, early summer cauliflowers, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, onion sets, peas, potatoes, shallot sets and spinach. Now is the time to plant fruit bushes and strawberry plants.


  • Most of the month, you will be preparing the ground: digging, weeding and raking, Finish any light pruning of  currant and gooseberry bushes before they come into bud.
  • Make runner bean and celery trenches and fill them with compost.
  • Apply fertliliser and manure to  fruit bushes.
  • Continue to ward off the wildlife!

    Have a good month on Calico Field!

    Best wishes

    Claire Hamilton
    SPAA Secretary