March – seedlings and grape pruning

Common advice here is to prune grapes in February, but it was so cold last week with temperatures plummeting to -10C that I have hesitated to do it. Today  a warmer wind blew in from the south and temperatures rose, so I did the pruning. The growth of the grape on the front trellis has been incredible – hard to believe that it was just a little stick three years ago!

Pre-pruning:
Post-pruning:  Extra stubs left in case we have a heavy late frost again.I also pruned the raspberries. The black pipe is a water connection which Craig left in case I want a tap in the front garden (it is wonderful how he plans for these things!) The weather has been dry with forecasts of rain from the end of this week, so I’ve really focussed on digging over the potato quadrant. I am firmly committed to No-Dig (No-Till) gardening as promoted by Charles Dowding, but even he says that potatoes require dug over soil.  For me it is all about removing rocks – it’s a never ending task.  I turn over a fork of soil, then take out all the stones (they go to make the wall in the background)   – in this cold weather I can bundle myself up (very glamorous!) but my hands get freezing from the icy soil.

But it’s all done now. I’ve covered the pumpkin patch which serves two purposes:  stops weeds growing and warms the soil up ready for early planting. In my greenhouse (aka the laundry!) I’ve added the following:
Sown on 24 February:

  • Beetroot Detroit
  • Leek Pitout (early leeks)
  • Spinach Matador
  • Sweet potato (in water to form shoots which are then used to make cuttings)
  • Ginger – tuber planted rather like an iris.  From earlier sowings, peppers, chillis and aubergines are germinating erratically.  I check them at least twice a day, willing them to appear 🙂 Spring onions and shallots (Freddy and Tosca)  and coriander have done well and have been transplanted and moved away from the heat to harden up before I move them outside.Now I have to be patient and wait for warmer weather before I start planting things outside.  My fingers itch!!

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