Western Isles Gardening
The Western Isles garden at the start of March this year is covered with snow.
The tree buds are starting to burst, so the sap is begining to rise, if you have willow growing in your garden which you intend to use, cut it as soon as you possibly can then store it dry. (once the sap is properly risen willow breaks rather than bends)
This cold snap will be breaking down the soil into a friable tilth, if you were well enough ahead to leave it rough-dug over winter. If your ground is still undug yet then during March you will be getting fitter!
If your ground is already dug over I recommend not putting an organic mulch on until it is well warmed by the sun - a while on yet. Plastic or fleece ground cover does help warm the ground giving an early start for spring sowings.
Have you got your potatoes chitted?
Your onion sets in hand?
As well as bursting buds here in the Western Isles, despite the snow cover there are signs of spring all around us , the green swords of the Yellow Flag Iris are already several inches above the ground, the Gorse is flowering more abundantly, traditionally signyfying kissing is in season!, the daffodils buds are filling, the season of yellow flowers and blue skys filled with the song of the skylark begins.
Incidentally two or more skylarks are very appropiately called an exaltation!
Remember that the growing season in the Western Isles is different to the rest of Britain and do outside sowings later.
Try to aim to have good strong plants coming on for planting out later in the spring. Initially sow thinly in the seed tray and once they have their first seed leaves, transplant to individual pots, leaving the plants in their pots until they have a good root system.
On the mainland you might transplant several seedlings into the same pot together. However plants can grow tall and leggy with poor root growth like that, and here the stronger the plant is when you put it out, the better developed the root system, the more chance the plant has of establishing itself in the ground quickly so it can feed through it's roots and grow healthy and strong.
Remember to harden them off before planting out, and try not to plant out until all signs of frost is gone, usually in late April.
Prepare the ground...
Local horticultural groups or gardener's clubs can add details of meetings etc to the garden page - email webmaster.
Peaches, grapes, tomatoes and other salad crops are
grown on The Poly Croft on the Isle of Lewis
Visit the web site for growing tips and location details of the most North Westerly vineyard in the UK...