As if by turning a tap the rain stopped, the sky cleared and the sun came out! By mid-March the soil surface was workable and our Tatsfield clay threatens to bake hard for those foolish enough to leave it undisturbed! By the end of March early seeds were sown, onion sets and first early potatoes were in; now we watch out for those late frosts that can nip to tops of early growth!
The early growth of the pond plants received a shock in early March when we had a rare and fleeting air frost that turned all the tips black but by now they are recovered and growing away as if nothing had happened – spring is a funny time of the year! We will be watching the large patches of frog spawn in the village pond very carefully as unfortunately the frogs were very busy when the level of the water was at its highest for many years; now the level is falling and leaving the spawn very exposed around the edges.
Trying to forecast the weather over the next month or so is going to be quite a challenge but I wouldn’t be surprised if Easter turns out to be very enjoyable. Even though we can expect soil temperatures to be up, I would sound a word of caution about sowing crops like beans too early in the month – just in case! By now you should have started off your over-wintering perennials such as Fuchsias, Dahlias and Begonias with some fresh soil and some gentle watering. Put them out in the mild weather but be ready to cover them over on chilly nights. Keep your early container-grown vegetable seedlings outside as much as possible to get that sturdy growth but don’t over-water and keep a sharp eye out for early greenfly attack.
Did you know that a lot of our lawns in Tatsfield are full of Cowslips, Primroses, Fritillaries and other lovely wild flowers but that they are never seen because the grass is mown too often and they remain hidden in the grass and every time they try to flower they get their heads chopped off! Why not leave a section of your lawn
uncut until late July and see what flowers? It might take a couple of seasons for them to fully recover but you just might get a big surprise. A meadow is not just a great habitat for wild flowers, it is vital for bees and other pollinating insects and it provides shelter for our tiny vertebrates like voles and shrews. If you see something
that looks interesting, and you can’t name it, take a picture of it and email it to me.