The month of March imminently beckons and should the spring season progress with elevating temperatures and days which continue to lengthen, there are a swathe of vegetables which gardeners can contemplate sowing.
March is when eager vegetable gardeners can start sowing, but be guided by the weather, if it’s still cold, it’s better to wait than waste seed and only sow hardy vegetable varieties.
Sowing directly into the soil before it has warmed up enough for germination is a sure-fire way to disappointment. Wait until you see signs of life, such as weed seedlings appearing and then you’ll know that your vegetable seeds should also germinate.
If you’re feeling impatient, get a head start by warming up the soil with clear plastic sheets. After a number of weeks, it should have warmed up enough to be raked to a fine tilth ready for sowing.
Use a cane or the corner of a hoe to make shallow drills for sowing and water along them, then sow hardy vegetable seeds such as peas and summer cabbages, as thinly as possible.
Replace the plastic sheets to keep them warm. When the seedlings are large enough to handle, thin them out to the spacings advised on the packet.
You can also sow hardy vegetables in a greenhouse to have young plants ready to be transplanted into the vegetable patch in approximately one month’s time, when the conditions should be warmer.
Try sowing peas and hardy salads into lengths of plastic guttering. Make drainage holes along the bottom of the gutter and fill with compost. Sow the seeds and give them a regular watering. When they are ready to be transplanted, simply slide the row of seedlings into a shallow trench you have prepared in the soil outside.
Which vegetables to sow in March?
• Onion sets, outside or into module trays in the greenhouse
• Beetroot, outside if the soil is warm, or in module trays inside
• Summer cabbages
• Broad beans, straight into the ground, or in pots if you prefer
• Carrots are a good choice for early sowing
• Lettuce and hardy salad leaf mixes
• Peas – maincrop varieties can all be sown from March, maturing at different times
• Spring onion