We are into March. The days are lengthening. The February seeds have germinated and are looking sprightly: the race to produce those early tomatoes has started and the chillis are up too. We need to make sure they are in good shape for the summer ahead.
The change of month means that I can now allow myself to open those packets of veg and flowers seeds that advised sowing from March onwards. Having a greenhouse is a boon at this time of the year, but before the seedlings graduate to this I have been starting some in the warmth of the spare bedroom before putting them in the conservatory which is no more than a giant leaky cold frame at this time of the year, but still marginally warmer than the greenhouse at night.
It’s not all seeds in trays, though: I’ve sown a couple of rows of peas and sugar snaps in the raised beds. The peas will once again be Hurst Greenshaft – The Old Man’s favourite. I keep a picture on my desk of him proudly standing alongside the Greatest Peas Of All Time. It is something to which I can aspire. The key might be the soil – which was a friable fecund tilth at the old place: the result of decades of cultivation. My one year old raised beds are composed of a thin layer of compost overlaying the claggy clay topsoil I bought last spring. I have put some well-rotted manure in with the peas but I fear it will take many more years’ work before it gets anywhere near as fertile as the last place.
We’ll wait to see if their early form is good enough to ensure good performance this season, whatever the ground..