March 2017 IX: The garden at the end of March

March 2017 has been very benign and spring-like. As a result, many of the natural markers of spring have already occurred. Here is a list of a few:

1. The appearance of weeds. Although my garden is now pretty clean, you will always get a few weeds emerging. For me, this accelerated in 2017 in the second week of March.

2. Appearance of potato plants from tubers remaining from last year’s crop. You never avoid leaving the odd tiny tuber in the ground. My first tuber emerged on March 28th, which says that a St Patrick’s day sowing of First Earlies would have been worthwhile this year. Last year this phenomenon only occurred in late April. One very mild autumn saw potatoes emerge in November!

3. Appearance of first asparagus stalk – this occurred on March 28th.

4. Appearance of blossom on pear, plum and cherry trees – this started on 25th March and now in full swing.

5. Appearance of leaves on apple trees – first noticed on 27th March.

Not surprisingly, the garden is more planted than usual and all main beds will be planted up by April 9th with first crops, allowing me to focus on leeks, cabbage and beans for planting out in May and June.

The compost piles built in the past few days are now up to temperature and will be turned tomorrow, 31st March. The larger pile reached 70C today, representing my best pile to date in terms of heat generated.

The forecast here for early April is dry, sunny days with spring temperatures by day and chilly nights. I will be putting fleece on beds and taking them off again a lot in April…..

Author: Rhys

Rhys trained as a research biologist, working for a decade in the cancer research charity sector, before completing an MBA and working in management consultancy, technology transfer and early technology investment spaces, mostly working with UK academics to turn their scientific discoveries into value for society. AS a younger man, he was fascinated with mountains, both climbing them and ski-ing down them. Whilst living in Scotland, he completed a round of (then) all 277 Munros, the independent mountains over 3000ft originally complied as a list by Munro. He also spent his holidays representing the Ski Club of GB, as a Representative and Party Leader between 1990 and 1997. During that time, he found to his bemusement that he was able to predict, without understanding fully why, to a remarkable degree of accuracy, when good snow conditions would occur in the Alps, gaining an unworthy reputation for predictive genius in 1990 when predicting the evolution of the 1989/90 winter in Wengen, Switzerland for his CEO boss. He used this skill for the next seven years to ensure that he enjoyed powder snow pretty much every time he went ski-ing. An MD student he was training in Oxford also impressed his wife by taking Rhys' advice about when to take her to Italy in the mid 1990s! In recent years, Rhys has turned his mind toward how to grow prize tomatoes, winning several prizes in local and London shows and has, in the past 3 years, moved toward taking over a 50 square metre urban vegetable patch, which he has turned into a no-dig area since autumn 2014.

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