I have had 10 days off work with a chest infection and have missed most of March, well a third anyway. At this time of year there is so much that can be done in the Garden. This week the soil has started warming up, absorbing the increased energy from the sun. All the tiny little root hairs on the end of large trees to the smallest seedling will be twitching into activity, weeds included.

As I write this the the wind and the sun are drying out the surface of the soil. This is the best time to work the soil as you will cause less damage to the soil structure, good soil structure is essential for good plant growth. Turning over the soil either by digging or rotavating will open up the soil, reducing compaction, incorporate oxygen and create the right soil, air and water balance for great root growth, if you get a chance incorporate organic matter and fertiliser now is a good opportunity.

Obviously, established shrub beds and herbaceous borders may not need digging, however a good mulch every couple of years will help keep the weeds down, increase moisture retention, improve fertility and increase organic matter. All these things will help to make your garden grow better and look more beautiful than it would otherwise have done.

Within the next week or so you can start to plant early potatoes, we have got over 40 varieties available. Good boilers, chippers, mashers etc. Why don’t you grow some for showing at your local village garden show, late summer, autumn its great fun, if you need any info drop me a line or have a word with the Bell Plantation team.

Now is a great time to plants vegetable seeds if you want to crop them early. Tomato seeds planted in a plastic propagator on the windowsill or heated greenhouse give great results and wonderful for encouraging the next generation of budding gardeners.

If planted now in a propagator in the kitchen, the seeds will take a couple of weeks before they pop up through the compost, they will then grow quickly (depending on heat and light levels) into small plants, about another 2-3 weeks. When about 20-30mm tall plant them into individual 10cm pots, they can then grow in these for another 3-4 weeks before planting in a larger pot or grow-bag. Make sure they are planted outside when frost free or plant them out earlier in a grow frame.

I have started calving my cows at home, we have already had 3 calves another 24 to go. I like to calve the cows in the spring so that there is lots of grass in April for the cows to produce lots of milk for the calves. We will very shortly be introducing our own beef into the farm shop 3-4 weeks. A week on tuesday / wednesday we will have our first lot of home grown pork and sausages for sale, will keep you posted.

Freddie says keep an eye on the website for loads of great deals and opportunities.

We are also recruiting for 4 new positions at he Bell Plantation.

If you would like to join our friendly family business drop me a line ashley@bellplantation.co.uk

Have a great weekend


Ashley Warren

Ashley Warren has lived and loved horticulture and agriculture all his life; he had his first greenhouse at the age of 10 and his first cow when he was 16. He started landscaping in 1984 mainly in Milton Keynes and then all over the country. He moved to Daventry Road Farmhouse in 1987 and has developed Bell Plantation Garden Centre in Towcester, Northants over the last 30 years.

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