Dear Fellow Gardeners
Spring must be round the corner by now. It hasn’t come up to Leitrim yet, but when I was down in Skibbereen last week I got the first glimpse of it. Going for a luchtime walk I felt my back warming up with the spring sunshine and the birds were beginning to sing. This is my favourite time of the year when nature starts to wake up from its long slumber. This is also the time when gardeners get itchy fingers.
Don’t be too tempted though – these days are just teasers. There are not many crops that can be planted outdoors in March. I always argue that one of the biggest mistakes gardeners make is to be too impatient and sow or plant too early. Below is a short chapter on what to sow or plant in March.
Outdoor sowings and plantings in March:
Early potatoes (mid March), onion and shallot sets, garlic bulbs (mid March to early April), broad beans (Witkeim), Jerusalem artichoke.
Indoor sowings for planting outdoors later:
Lettuce, scallions, early cabbage, celery, celeriac, leeks, coriander, dill, parsley, beetroot, calabrese, oriental salads, perpetual spinach, chard (from mid March onwards).
Indoor sowings direct into tunnel or greenhouse:
Early potatoes, radish, turnip, oriental salads, beetroot, carrot, annual spinach, coriander, dill.
Indoor sowing in trays for planting into tunnel or greenhouse:
Tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, chilli peppers, climbing French beans, sweetcorn, lettuce, scallions, celery, coriander, dill, parsley, calabrese, oriental salads.
Arrival of new stock:
Onion Sets – Stur BC 20
I grew this variety last year for the first time and was really impressed. It’s an improved Sturon type which produces highly productive onions with excellent bolting resistance and excellent storage qualities. In fact we still have some of them now to eat. These sets are of excellent quality and well worth a try if you struggled with growing onions before. Plant into firm ground.
Plant sets 10cm apart in the row from mid March to April.
Price: €2.00 for 50 sets
Onion Sets – Red Baron
Plant sets 10cm apart in the row from late March to April.
Price: 50 sets – €2.00
Garlic – Casablanca
Plant individual cloves 20cm x 25cm apart and plant them twice their own depth.
Price: 50 cent per bulb
We have just published our third book ‘A Vegetable Grower’s Handbook’. It’s a smaller publication (164 pages) and is designed to be taken out into the garden with step by step information on how to grow a wide range of vegetables both indoors and outside. It is full of wonderful illustrations by Dympna O’Driscoll making it a very easy to follow guidebook.
The book is available from our website and independent bookshops throughout Ireland.
Irish Garden Magazine
I’m delighted to have been asked to be a monthly contributor to the Irish Garden Magazine. The March issue is now in shops and – as usual – is packed with wonderful articles and gardening advice.
Joy Larkcom ‘Creative Vegetable Gardening’
This is really great news! My favourite gardening book of all times has finally been published again. For many decades Joy has inspired vegetable gardeners all over the world. She travelled throughout the world in search of new vegetables and new varieties. In my mind ‘Creative Vegetable Gardening’ is the most inspirational gardening book ever written – a must for every vegetable gardener.
Gourmet Genetics is the partnership between plant breeders Simon Crawford and Mark Rowland. They are the breeders of the wonderful tomato ‘Sweet Aperitif’. Their breeding programme focuses on varieties which have outstanding flavour and quality especially for the amateur market, where there is a real need for modern, high quality open pollinated varieties.
Last week they sent me samples of their other tomatoes ‘Rosella’, ‘Black Opal’, ‘Bite Size’ and ‘4th of July’ as well as a their whole range of chilli peppers. I’m so excited trialling all these new varieties. That’s the beauty with gardening – we’ll always learn! I’ll keep you updated.
Glor Na Mara – Ecological Initiative in Bundoran
I have been working at this amazing project for the last 7 years on a part time basis. It is run by the Mercy Sisters Assumpta Butler and Mary Kate Hagan. It’s based on a two acre site in the middle of Bundoran and is always a hive of activity.
There are various strands to the project – a community garden project, allotments, primary school garden – as well as a spiritual element. They are inspired by the stunning new insights of the awesome story of the unfolding universe, the story of planet Earth and the sacredness of the whole community of life. They believe that there is an urgent need for education and awareness-raising to bring about a new relationship with the earth. Their commitment is to honour the interconnectedness of all life.
If anyone travels up to the North West you can have a stroll through the garden or call Sr Assumpta on 086 3938630
The Science Delusion – by Rupert Sheldrake
If you have an hour spare, please have a look at this amazing lecture by Rupert Sheldrake. It could possibly put science on its head. It could change the way we think.
Enjoy your garden!