A ‘March’ Catch Up

Well it’s nice to be back blogging but as usual I haven’t been resting as planned, however I have been careful to make sure I’ve not been rushing around.

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March started off very wet and we had so much rain one night that our local park flooded in places!

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I had a wonderful mothers day with nice presents and a really nice cooked breakfast made by Mr Thrift.

One of the things my daughters bought me was a couple of bug boxes, that I am very pleased with and I put them up straight away:

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In February I repotted my blueberries and needed a mulch that was acidic (as blueberries like acid soil) and I remember that someone on here suggested I used pine needles, but I didn’t have any to use.

During March we had some very windy days and unfortunately an enormous branch broke off a pine tree at the park…..which was great for me as I managed to take a bag full of pine needles before the council shredded the tree (I’m sure they wouldn’t have minded considering how big the fallen branch was).  I placed them around my blueberries as a mulch and they actually look quite attractive:

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At the beginning of March I planted some new Snowdrops that I brought ‘in the green’ (this means they have just finished flowering and they establish quickly at this stage).  I did bring a very small amount back from my old allotment when I gave up but I like a lot of Snowdrops as I said previously they remind me of my old friend that passed away:

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At the beginning of March I also found that B&Q were selling their fruit bushes off cheaply.  I managed to get a redcurrant bush, blackcurrant bush and five summer raspberry canes for £6 which was a bargain.  I have planted them in an area that only gets 4-6 hours of sunlight in the summer, so this is a bit of an experiment….but for £6 it is worth a gamble.

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I have also had a go at making an arch to go over my path.  I have never really made anything before so armed with some left over wood and a bit extra that I purchased, I gave it a go.  I also used some expandable trellis from Wilkinsons.  After it was finished I gave it a paint with my faithful old tin of woodstain….the whole thing cost me just £16 to make and I am really pleased with it:

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I am planning to grow sweetpeas up the side of my arch and the sweetpeas I sowed previously have been growing nicely in pots and I will be able to plant them shortly:

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I then decided to carry on and try and make something to stop Judy (our rescue dog) from being able to run down the alley at the side of our house (and bark).

I brought an expandable trellis on legs, added a few bits of wood including an old gate that I made last year out of an old allotment cage and attached it all to our brick outhouse and house wall to make it sturdy. I also brought a cheap planter off ebay and attached it to the expandable trellis and painted the whole lot again with my faithful old tin of brown woodstain.

I lined the wooden planter with plastic (with drainage holes) and added compost.  I then went to my local nursery and brought some primroses and cowslips for £4 as they were selling them off cheap to clear them and planted them….and this is the result:

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I am very pleased with it, though I do need to rethink the area behind as it does look scuffy.

The Cowslips and Primroses will be replanted somewhere else in my garden when they have finished flowering and they will hopefully come up year after year.

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I have been busy in March sowing seeds, though you can see from the photo below that Judy has hampered my seed sowing at times….as you can see one of her dog treats was ‘hidden’ on top of my seedlings:

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During March I sowed red cabbages, white cabbages, coriander, greenhouse cucumbers, spring onions and various flower seeds:

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I have tried very hard to keep my seedlings in the house up until now, as the greenhouse heater is expensive to run, but I do know that when I sow my next lot of seeds next week I will have to switch it on.

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At the beginning of March in my cold greenhouse I also planted my onion sets in newspaper pots that I made (you can read how to make the pots here).  This week they were ready to plant.  I have planted half of them up to now, but I have made sure that I have planted them under environmesh as I had such a problem last year with the allium leaf miner.  The flies have two generations each year and the adults first lay their eggs in March / April and the next generation lay their eggs September to November:

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I also planted my ‘spare’ garlic that I sowed in January in newspaper pots and left to grow in my greenhouse.  I also planted with some leftover onion sets next to the garlic – again under environmesh…..it feels like one day I will have my whole garden under environmesh!

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This month I also planted the broadbeans that have sat in my cold greenhouse since the middle of January, again in newspaper pots.  As always, I raked in some blood, fish and bone a couple of weeks before I planted them.

I put some garden string around them ready to support them when they are bigger:

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Elsewhere in the garden I planted some lollo rossa lettuce under glass (a bottomless box and an old piece of glass):

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I removed any yellowing leaves from around my Spring cabbages and sprinkles some blood, fish and bone around them and gave the ground a quick hoe.  I also gave them a seaweed feed to help perk them up after a long winter:

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I thinned the leeks that I sowed in January in the hope they will now grow bigger.  I use a pair of scissors to do this as it is so much easier just snipping them off and doesn’t disturb the remaining seedlings:

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And I sowed some mixed salad leaves and radishes in my cold greenhouse at the beginning of March and they are growing nicely:

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The garden is springing into life now and I have noticed that the bees are starting to buzz around my flowers, so I am glad I have plenty for them to choose from.  Incidentally the daffodils that I planted far too late last year (mid November), have been flowering beautifully during March….I’m so glad I didn’t just throw them away as I was so late planting them:

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In The Home During March:

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I made some more ‘mini cloches’ by cutting ‘pop’ bottles in half.  I will soon be using these in my garden:

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I found I still have some stored apples which I have started to add to my porridge in the mornings.  I also made some apple cakes too (the recipe is here):

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I also ran out of my last batch of laundry liquid.  I usually use Dri Pak soapflakes for convienience but unfortunately after ringing them I found out that they have discontinued them and they are no longer available.  They now sell liquid soapflakes which are equally good to use, however I chose some cheap, unfragranced soap and just grated it instead and this has worked just as well as the old soapflakes:

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(Here is the recipe for homemade laundry liquid).

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One last thing I wanted to tell you about this week is some flowers that we gave to someone special in March.  I didn’t want to buy them ready made up from the florist as they would have been so expensive, but I did want the flowers to be extra special….so I copied the florists and made my own arrangement with flowers from Leicester market instead.

The market sold me a ‘flower box’ for £1 (I’m not sure if that is the right name for it) and I used the roll of cellophane I have at home.  I carefully wrapped the flowers so that the bottom of the cellophane was water tight and put an inch or so of water in the bottom of the cellophane to keep the flowers fresh.  I popped them in the box and added a bit of ribbon and a gift card that I also brought from the market for 10 pence……..and this is the result, which I am very proud of:

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Anyway, that’s it for this week.

Thank you for reading my blog today.  I will be back next week as usual.

Have a great week!

 

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25 thoughts on “A ‘March’ Catch Up

  1. Welcome back! I’m so pleased to see you’re blogging again! On a Friday evening whilst I wait for my lovely Hubbie to come home I pour myself a glass of red and read your blog! I so admire what you do and some of it I put into practice but in our rented home we don’t do too much. Mostly I save your ideas for when we have our new home 😉 But now I see you’re a florist too…..that bouquet is amazing and I’m sure the recipient was very happy! This year your garden will produce even more; I’m looking forward to each week X

    • Glad to be back Helbels and thank you for reading my blog and I am so glad you enjoy it. I was surprised how easy the flowers were to do lol, anyone could do it and I would certainly do it again. Keep working towards your dream home and hopefully one day soon you will have it XX

  2. Hi glad you’re back you make it all sound so easy when you are telling us what to plant and when, and I love reading it all again and again!! Can you confirm I recently bought some onion sets (small little red onions) and I thought I could put them straight into the ground now but you said you put yours in paper pots (which I do make) is this better for them in the greenhouse for a while to go out later or can they go out now ? I do read all your things but I still get a little confused on when things can go straight in the ground or not. I only got my allotment last year so still a bit of a novice and we did quite well to be fair so this year I have things starting in the greenhouse and am keeping them all there till they look big enough to survive outside! Does this sound OK ? Maybe you started all your sowing early I think so most of your seeds are quite advanced compared to mine. Is it just try everything and see what happens!!! Thanks

    • Hi Linda, thanks for reading my blog. Onion sets are traditionally planted directly in the ground in March but as you know the ground was very wet and cold at the beginning of the month so the onion sets would have either just sat there doing nothing or rotted in the ground if I had planted them then. The advantage of a unheated greenhouse or a coldframe is you can start crops like this off before the ground outside is ready for them, which is what I did with my onion sets. By starting them off in newspaper pots you can plant the whole pot (including the newspaper) straight in the ground so you have no root disturbance (when conditions improve). However, it will be fine to plant your red onion sets directly in the ground now and they will grow well (don’t forget to be careful of the allium leaf miner if it has been a problem where you are).

      Don’t worry about the seeds I showed growing on my blog, most of the ones you could see were flowers seedlings which needed to be started off earlier than most of the veg I grow. April is really the big sowing month ready for allotments / kitchen gardens and anything sowed now catches up with earlier sowings anyway.

      Regarding your plants in the greenhouse….keeping them there until they are “big enough to survive outside” is a great idea…the bigger the plant the better it will be able to withstand attacks from aphids / slugs etc, but do remember that some crops aren’t frost hardy so be careful and read the seed packets. Also remember to ‘harden off’ your plants before planting them out (e.g leaving them outside for longer periods each day until they are left out day and night approx two wks later).

      The best way to learn is have a go and see what happens and what works best for you. Also watch what people are planting on the allotments around you…..also checkout your local nursery and buy plants that you haven’t grown before and see if they grow well in your allotment and if you enjoyed eating the results…if you do, then have a go at growing them from seed the next year.

      Also if you are unsure of anything, I am always around so pls don’t be afraid to ask as I would love to help.

      Best wishes XX

  3. I sometimes grate soap to use with my laundry. A shame that DriPak have stopped doing the flakes.

    Anyway, your blueberries will enjoy the fir tree mulch. I put similar in the ground as I planted out my blueberry bush and even with just one bush I get a fair amount of fruit so it must be doing some good.

  4. Its lovely to see you back, you have done so much and the gardens looking great, what a bargain your flowers were and the display you made looks so professional. My growing has been slow as I hurt all my shoulders and back, not sure still how but things are improving, I am heading into the garden today and if alls ok the allotment on Wednesday. Do have a great week.
    Sue

  5. So glad you are back. Your blog is very, very inspiring. May I just ask what wood stain you use and what was the variety of apple that had kept so well?

    • Hi Gill, thank you for reading my blog. I really don’t know the variety of apple unfortunately, but I do know it’s a ‘late’ variety. The wood stain was from Wilkinsons and I seem to remember I got it a couple of years ago when they were selling it off cheaply …I have used it so much lol

  6. Did you know when your cowslips & primroses have flowered, & the flower has died down a bit, sometimes if you are lucky there is a bulbous sort of seed pod behind the petals. If you carefully open it there are florecent bright green seeds which if you so immediately you get nearly 100% germination.

  7. So pleased to see you back,its good to hear you are feeling able to do it again.We all benefit from your knowledge ,as I only have a garden & not an allotment its even more relevent to me /useful to see how much you get into your garden.Not a bit of wasted space anywhere,always something waiting in the wings! Looking forward to learning lots more this year ,Carrie xx

  8. Lovely to have you back. You have done so much in a month and its all looking so good. Your arch looks great – I would really like to do some garden DIY projects but I’m not quite brave enough. Well done you! xx

  9. hello,
    i am glad you are back. your march was very busy.many things have you sowed out.your trelli is grandious.the apple cake looks delicious….thanks for the link. i sowed tomatoes,eggplant,paprika and a few flower out. i am a liite behind with my sowing this year,but i hope it’s not to late
    have a nice week,
    hugs regina

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