Monthly Roundup: March


This month saw the restoration of the greenhouse water butt.  I’d drained it (and left the tap open) over winter, then noticed that it was listing to one side.

It’s made of three sections that interlink.  Now they’re reinforced with duct-tape.  If it goes again – well I’m not short of a brick or twenty.  Mr O took the opportunity to replace the washer for the tap.  Although this water butt was new in 2018, it had always dripped.

I’m sticking rigidly to my plan of only sowing a few seeds at a time – honest!

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I only have these two small beds and room on the patio for buckets and bags.  I can’t afford to use space for things like Brussels Sprouts and squashes.  Every square inch here needs to be producing or resting.  I’ve already reduced my growing area by planting garlic at the front of Raised Bed A (to the left in the picture), though that should be harvested by the end of July at the latest.

I finally separated the fuchsia cuttings and placed them in individual pots.  I took eight cuttings in total last autumn, and – so far – every one is thriving.  I’d just watered them in this image, and did drain the excess water away.

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Potatoes – first earlies – are still going.  You can read about them in this month’s Potato Diaries.

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Similarly, seeds are starting to sprout inside the mini-greenhouse, with leeks, pea-shoots, parsley, coriander, salad leaves and tomatoes all showing signs of germination by the middle of the month.

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Then we had Storm Gareth, quickly (too quickly) followed by Storm Hannah.  Both brought strong winds and rain, but by Saturday 16th March, parts of the UK had received half a month’s worth of rain in one day – and I’ve got two water butts with nowhere to put them to fill!

And after the Gardener’s World episode of 15th March, thoughts have turned to growing some annual climbers, which I sowed on 17th March in home-made pots.

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Morning Glory – Carnivale di Venezia
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Perennial Sweet Peas (L) and Cobaea – The cup and saucer vine (R)

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With warmer days on the way, I’ve moved my pelargoniums from the conservatory to the greenhouse, after removing all the dead leaves and flowers, and pinching out the tops.  I bought five plants last year and split them in autumn.  So far, all ten are doing well.  I’m even using the prunings as cuttings to see how that works out.

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On the weekend of 23/24th I got on with some other jobs.

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The birds have been stealing sticks from my bug hotel, so my husband drilled different-sized holes in a log to make a bee hotel, which hopefully will be used by solitary bees among others.  Details and instruction here.  So far I’ve seen four different types of bee in the garden, including a Red Mason Bee – see here for identification help.

Other jobs included removing dead leaves and stagnant water from my water feature, though it’s too soon to re-instate the pump.  I also sowed carrot, spring onion and spinach seeds – in pots.

And the worst job?  To remove some fungus type growth from one of the wooden cross-pieces supporting my shed.  It looked wet and spongy but turned out to be hard and almost crystalline.  It’s on a piece of  treated 4×4 – well two of them now.  I had to use a wallpaper scraper to remove it, then a wire brush, then a wash down with diluted bleach.  So far I have not been able to identify it.

The end of the month, I managed to tidy up the front border which included chopping off all the Mexican Feather Grass to about two inches above the ground and pulling out Sycamore saplings dropped from next-door’s trees.  This border really needs a good mulch with fresh compost, so I hope there is some available at our Recycling Centre when we visit next week.

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Courgette seed – after only five days!!!!

My final job this month was to tie strings to my arch ready for planting climbing beans in a couple of weeks.

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