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February 28, 2023
No dig early spring March 2023, sow under cover

No dig early spring March 2023, sow under cover only for now, using the dates I suggest and sow tomatoes 10th March.

Sometimes it said that the first day of spring is the equinox. In many ways, this is true because it can be pretty cold until then and it looks like that will happen this year.

On the other hand, daylight levels even at March 1st, are equivalent to the middle of October. And by the equinox, days are as bright as six months ago and six months ahead. In other words, decent amounts of daylight, just lacking in warmth. That’s why I recommend you sow nothing outside until the equinox. In  cool March, later sowings are more likely to succeed.

For gardening, I feel that spring happens from early March. However, you need to work out how to use the extra light, even when it’s cool. Hence my recommendation for covering all new plantings with fleece.
See my newsletter of today 28th February, for more information about all of these aspects of winter converting to spring.

Seedlings in my greenhouse 28th February. many sown two weeks ago, and a few earlier because I was trialling seeds & composts
Seedlings in my greenhouse 28th February. many sown two weeks ago, and a few earlier because I was trialling seeds & composts
Polytunnel salad plants have been picked seven times already, and the latest pic of 20 kg leaves. No dig makes this easy.
Polytunnel salad plants have been picked seven times already, and the latest pic of 20 kg leaves. No dig makes this easy.
Garlic is so hardy, this was sown October and suddenly now it's starting to grow quite strongly. To the right are broad beans under mesh.
Garlic is so hardy, this was sown October and suddenly now it’s starting to grow quite strongly. To the right are broad beans under mesh.

Sowing reminders

Good to sow now – see Digital Calendar

Any or all of broad beans, peas (for shoots, and early varieties for pods), true spinach, lettuce, onions, salad onions, cabbage, calabrese, kohlrabi, cauliflower, turnips, radish and Florence fennel. Also asparagus, globe artichokes, parsley, coriander and dill.

  • For salad rocket. mustard greens, spinach, turnips, kohlrabi and fennel, sow asap. The idea is to have them harvest just before they flower in June.

In suitable warmth, night temperatures above about 10°C/50°F, you can sow aubergine, sweet peppers and chillies. Sow in a seed tray for later pricking out. This allows you to germinate a lot in any small and very warm space in your house.

Timing to emergence
Depends on temperature. Up to 30C is possible.

Fastest are brassica such as radish, turnip and cabbage, mid range are lettuce, spinach and beetroot, slowest are onions, globe artichoke, asparagus.

Wait a little before sowing
Tomatoes, from second week of March.
Celery, celeriac from mid March
Leeks from early April, unless you want leeks in the summer
Chard, because it’s less likely to bolt when sown in April.

Morning of 27th February, -3 C 27F, and it's why I recommend waiting to sow outside
Morning of 27th February, -3 C 27F, and it’s why I recommend waiting to sow outside
My hotbed of fresh horse manure reached 58 C within two days, after we filled it 20th February. This is eight days later, and we have topped it up with three more wheelbarrows of fresh manure. it's good for germination and early seedling growth.
My hotbed of fresh horse manure reached 58 C within two days, after we filled it 20th February. This is eight days later, and we have topped it up with three more wheelbarrows of fresh manure. it’s good for germination and early seedling growth.
Multisown onions from home saved seed, spent one week in the conservatory and have not been on the hot bed but just on the bench of my unheated greenhouse. The hotbedd provides a little heat, but mostly its warmth is for the seedling trays on top.
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