Our first job is digging in our green manure. We’re really pleased with the new mix we used this winter, and the dry weather has helped the soil by reducing the water runoff.
It’s said that you should place your bare bottom on the soil to tell if it’s ready for compost. We tend to stick with using our bare hands! Place your hand on the soil and when it doesn’t feel cold to the touch, it means that all of the microbes have woken up and are ready to start working after the winter. We apply garden compost at a rough ratio of 2 shovels per square metre which is about the amount you want to be using at home. Over applying compost can lead to too much growth too quickly, leaving you with plants that are much more susceptible to pest and disease. We want to grow tough plants!
We rotate our crops by botanical family. Not only is this a fundamental organic principle, it means we can root out most soil born pests as they tend to be host specific. For example, club root only attacks brassicas, so if we put onions in that bed the disease will have no plants to attack and will die off.
We’ve completed our sowing calendar, some of it’s already planted. We find planning really important for optimum growing and to maximise the use of the beds. We sow root crops directly into the ground but everything else gets started in modules. This means that we don’t need to thin crops out later and gives them all a head start. As we are an ornamental garden, our veg beds have to look as lovely as the rest of the garden and using modules means that we can get our spacing accurate and have complete control over our displays.
In other parts of the garden we are sowing perennials and annuals and finishing our spring pots. We’re repairing and tidying up our lawns, and cleaning the glass house. The beginning of spring is a perfect time to repot your house plants if they need it. We also stop feeding the birds of the garden at this time too, encouraging them to start eating the insects again!
Why not come and see the garden for yourself, our Organic Garden Days are a good way to see the garden with a guided tour and to ask me or the team any questions you might have. We have a few different themes throughout the season – click here to find out more!