By mid-spring most of the seedlings have made the big trek down to our greenhouse, which is now absolutely rammed with fresh new growth. I usually feel like there’s not enough time and definitely not enough space at this time of year….
This is the second in a series of posts about the joys of springtime gardening on our organic allotment. Sowing new crops, hardening off, planting out and the first harvests. Life is good….
On the allotment: We’re harvesting the rhubarb and spring onions (our first spring fruit and veg!), pulling up the old kale and leaf beet plants, that have given us delicious leafy greens throughout the winter and continuing to tend our overwintered onions and garlic.
All the other beds are given a final tidy and the whole allotment garden takes on an air of great expectation! I’m literally leaping around with the exciting prospect of growing and cooking our own organic food.
Sowing: This month we’re sowing the amazing-looking romanesco cauliflower, autumn leeks, sweetcorn, french beans, summer carrots, the next overwinter crops – brussel sprouts and purple sprouting broccoli, plus lots of successional sowings of the earlier crops. I’m determined to master successional sowing this year, so every month I’m sowing more spinach, lettuce, leaf beet, fennel, beetroot and celeriac.
We sow everything from seed that we’ve either saved from last year or bought from organic seed suppliers, in fact the only thing I’m having to buy this year is a companion plant called tagetes, because I forgot to sow them early enough!
Hardening off: Windowsill, greenhouse, cold frame, allotment – that’s the journey our plants take at this time of year.
When the seedlings look strong and the weather is warm enough, I start to harden them off in preparation for planting out at the allotment. They spend the nights inside the greenhouse and the days outside, before trekking down to the allotment cold frame. Totally depends on the plant and the weather, but I usually harden off for around 7-10 days.
Planting out: Mid-spring sees our first crops planted out on the allotment, which is always an exciting moment! The broad beans and peas both love the cooler weather of mid-spring, so I plant them out as soon as they’re big enough. The early potatoes are also planted out using comfrey leaves as a natural kick-start fertiliser (more info here). Everything else is biding its time.
Roll on late-Spring….