I have planted out the broad beans, shallots and garlic that I started in the greenhouse. I was going to cover the broad beans with plastic cloches but I don't think they need it. The cloches are not doing anything at the moment except languishing in the store shed so I might get them out to cover something. I will want them for the early lettuce and they can easily be moved.
Some good horse manure was delivered to the allotment but I wasn't going to use any. After everyone had had a share there was still a big pile so I changed my mind and took some. Although the potato bed had green manure on it, it really needed a little more organic matter to bulk it up. It was covered with a 4-6 cm layer of manure all over. Together with the green manure and comfrey liquid, I think that this will be sufficient for the potatoes. I will be planting them with mychorrhizal fungi too but this will be later in March. I have a wide selection of early potatoes this year and they will go in this bed while the second earlies, Kestrel, will go in the new allotment. The new allotment potato bed has been triple dug, sieved and pigeon manure added. This ground was also sown with a rye tares green manure which will be dug in a week or two before I plant the potatoes.
I am hardening off some of the onion seedlings and exhibition broad beans and these will be planted in the old allotment until I run out of space. The mammoth onions and the big leeks have germinated and need to be pricked out into individual pots this week.
The cabbage and cauliflower seedlings are growing well but they will be kept in the greenhouse until the middle of March and then hardened off in the cold frame which will be repaired by then - hopefully.
It is all right germinating the seeds but keeping them alive is quite difficult especially as the night temperatures regularly go down to just above freezing.
I have tomato and peppers germinated and producing quite large seedlings now but whether they will last until they can be put into the allotment remains to be seen.
I will be using my trusty little paraffin heater but that will only just keep the temperature in the greenhouse above freezing during very cold nights.
The cold does not seem to affect the sweet pea seedlings and they are germinating well. I will have to pinch them out fairly soon.
On the new allotment I have planted out another apple tree "Discovery" on M9 rootstock, a plum "Opal" and a pear - I forget the name but it is a French one.
The Victoria plum has set off some suckers from the roots. It is probably on St Julien root stock and these will make good root stocks for new trees. They are just heeled in at the moment but they will be planted and possibly budded during the summer.
The new raspberries and gooseberries are just heeled in too and will need to be planted in their permanent positions soon. They will not fruit this year but they should grow away during the year and be big enough for fruit next year. I am still planting them in concentric semi circles around the established Victoria plum and the next line of strawberries has gone in. I have enough strawberries for another line but I don't think that I will need them. I hate putting good plants on the compost heap though.
I have double dug and sieved all the soil down to the shed now. There is about 15 feet of digging still to do. As I go along the shed there is less soil to dig over so it is taking less time to do a row. Also I have run out of things to bury or mix in so the digging now takes much less time. The thing that is taking the time is getting things out of the way so that I can have a clear run. The next thing I will have to move is the makeshift compost heap. I will move the pallets up to the front of the allotment and make a new compost heap there and that will be right out of the way. After that it is moving the stones to make a really good foundation for the shed and finally moving the shed.
After that it is back to the greenhouse and doing some serious seed sowing. Middle of March will be the sowing of the parsnips. However, before I can do this I will have to dig in the green manure on the roots bed. I will do this fairly soon because a lot of the roots can be sown from the middle to the end of March.
So, busy times ahead.