Elder Stubbs Charity allotments is a member of NSALG (National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners) and their website gives a lot of useful information (www.nsalg.org.uk). This monthly task list is based predominantly from information from them.
Overview:We are hopefully on the way to Spring and the new gardening season. The days are beginning to lengthen and although it may not feel like it at times the temperatures are slowly increasing day by day. more importantly the longer days are a trigger to new growth and you will find that with the help of a little protection you can really go for those early sowings. They may not all make it but it is still worth a try and you will still have plenty of time to re-sow any misses. Your best friend this month is the weather man. Try to keep up to date with the local forecasts, better still ask the advice of gardeners around you who have years of experience to draw on.
Rather than focus a great burst of energy over the Bank Holiday weekend at the end of the month, better results will be obtained by planning your work load throughout the month according to the weather and the time you have available.
Sowing and planting: Plant our early cultivars of potatoes and follow on planting at regular intervals with the second earlies and first maincrops until the end of the month. Don’t be tempt to plant out more potatoes than you can protect from any frosty weather further down the line.
Transplant any early peas, broad beans, cabbages or lettuce you may have started off earlier.
Sow the seed of Brussels sprouts, summer cabbage, broccoli, onions and leeks in short rows on a “nursery seed bed.” These will be grown on to be transplanted in April.
Sow in rows in the open ground seeds of round seeded spinach, Swiss chard, early types of beetroot, carrots, parsnips, lettuce, spring onions, peas, broad beans and turnips.
Plant out onion sets, shallots and garlic before they start to produce shoots. Those that have shoots are likely to bolt during the summer.
If you can offer the protection of a greenhouse or polytunnel sow the seed of celery, celeriac, french beans (they are hardy enough to be transplanted out before the runners), cauliflowers to transplant on the open soil next month.
General: Complete any unfinished digging and winter pruning. Clear the old leaves off strawberry plants and clean up the ground between the plants. Keep some fleece handy to protect the developing strawberry flowers from frost. Any frost damaged flowers are easily identified by the tell tale “black eye” at the centre of the dead flower.
When the weather conditions allow it, complete the preparations of seed beds for direct sowing. Spred the job out over several days to allow the surface of the soil to dry out.