March brings light and warmth, and at last a return to the plot

March: the month of spring and early summer. The equinox and British summer time a week away from each other. The sun will cross the equator. UK clocks will spring forward. There will be more light, more heat, less winter. All good gardening news. Some hardy seed can be sown outside this month – early peas and broad beans, chards, early carrots and leeks. But please, a note of caution, especially in northern parts. It’s still safest to offer protection.

We’re hoping to be back at the plot in mid March so much of our work will be feeding soil and preparing seed beds. We’ll be trying to re-establish our relationship. Seeing how the new ground responds to old organic manure.

Our flowering fennels will be re-homed. We’ll trial scattering our saved orache seed to see what takes where. We will be glued to the weather forecast. We’ll keep an anxious ear and eye out for late frost and hard rains. We’ll look to prepare summer seedbeds.

We’ll probably pass on potatoes this year. Though early, second early and maincrops can all go in now. We’ll feel our way with root crops while we listen to the soil. I suspect we will concentrate on leaves, fruiting plants and flowers.

We’ll again trial the Basque tear peas and sort through our French beans. We have a new source for buttery Gold of Bacau. We’ll mix them with Blauhilde on the same structures.

We may try crimson clover as a quick green manure. Perhaps focus on feeding ground rather than feeding ourselves. Watch and wait is our new mantra. We’ll put up the new nesting boxes as soon as we can.

We’ll hold back on sowing summer herbs. We’ll weed, we’ll rake, we’ll fertilise. We will ready ourselves for what the new season holds. It’s not long now, the soil is stirring. Just time to wish everyone good growing.

Allan Jenkins’s Plot 29 (4th Estate, £9.99) is nou uit. Order it for £8.49 from




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