As the days begin to lengthen and get warmer, there are plenty of vegetable crops that can be sown in March. With so many of us cooped up at home due to lockdown, it was reported that seed and compost sales surged by 250% last year. Growing your own fresh produce can be great fun for all the family, and a very simple, great way of staying active and enjoying the fresh air.
Lettuce is one of the easiest crops to grow. Many nurseries offer starter plants, but the truth is it is just as easy to grow your own plants from seed. There are plenty of varieties of lettuce, so be sure to choose your favourites. These seeds can be sown directly into the ground, leaving roughly 1cm between each seed. Keep the ground moist and watch as the plant begins to grow, the leaves can then be cut as and when required. For a continual crop, sow seeds every two to four weeks.
Carrots are another quick and easy crop to grow, often a ‘grow-your-own’ favourite. Carrots need open, sunny, well-drained soil. Some choose to sieve the soil first to help keep their carrots as straight as possible, but this isn’t necessary. Seeds can be sown directly into the soil in March under protection of a cloche. They don’t require much watering as they are drought resistant. Your carrots will be ready for harvest 12 – 16 weeks after sowing.
Beetroot takes up little space when growing. Seeds should be sown outdoor under cloches in March, into a shallow 1cm deep hole. Each seed should be spaced 10cm apart. Water your beetroot plants regularly and harvest when they are the desired size, anything over cricket ball size will become woody.
Radishes are quick, easy and very fun to grow from seed. Radish can be grown in even the smallest of gardens and can be ready to harvest in four weeks. Sow the seeds outdoors, 2.5cm apart, directly into the ground or into containers. Keep the soil moist to enable rapid growth.
Kale is a firm favorite to grow on our farms. A hardy crop that tolerates cold weather and shade, this crop is relatively easy to look after. Seeds should be thinly sown into a seed bed in rows 15cm apart. Once the seeds have grown and have at least 5 leaves, transplant the young plants to the growing positions (45cm apart). Water well and protect from birds and butterflies with netting. Your crop can then be harvested from October onwards.