The greenhouse in March

The greenhouse in March

What a pleasure to come into the greenhouse this month and be welcomed by young life that is present everywhere. Young leaves, spinach, rocket, mustard leaves and loose-leaved lettuce. Pots and trays with potatoes, carrots, radish, Swiss chard, beets and turnips and loads of pots of peas and broad beans that may be planted out as soon as it has dried up outside. Because, even though on some days the weather looks a bit like what’s coming soon, it’s just a wet affair on most days. Nothing of that in the greenhouse. I still walk around with buckets to provide all the young greenery with sufficient moisture. And it also warms up during the day, at the smallest ray of sunshine, to pleasant temperatures in the evening and there is certainly no sign of this at night any more. Still too cold for sun-lovers, such as peppers and tomatoes, which still have to be sown indoors. These plants need a constant temperature between 18-21 °, also at night. During the day, these plants want to take in every ray of sunlight. Suitable places are the windowsill in a light and heated room, or a heated incubator, or a fully heated greenhouse for those who see it as bit bigger venture and do not really care about more or less energy waste. But, there is also an environmentally friendly alternative. You can set up a hotbed in the greenhouse, which is a large compost heap consisting of very fresh, powerful material (horse manure, grass clippings, fresh wood chips, etc.) that immediately starts digesting, which releases a lot of heat. Make this hotbed very flat and even on top, put some cardboard or other material on it that retains the heat well (and therefore holds it back) and then place the trays with the seedlings that need heat on top of it; light and heat in one go and soon, when the hotbed has digested, it will also be compost. Such a hotbed releases a reasonable amount of CO2, which is absorbed by the plants from which they grow extra well.

There is, of course, a downside to this: it is quite a job to set up such a hotbed and when the temperature drops too fast, everything has to be replaced with some fresh material. But hey, such a hotbed is a free subscription to the sports club and the sauna at the same time; some people pay a lot of money for that.

Even without a hotbed you can already sow a whole lot of vegetables in the greenhouse; you can find a list below. In the meantime, ensure that there is sufficient air circulation, open the door slightly on hot days, or open a window once in a while. All that young greenery may just need enough moisture to germinate; a too wet greenhouse will soon cause mould. You have probably already come across white, fluffy tufts next to the fine seedlings. Prevention is better than cure, so do not give too much water, work with clean equipment, ensure there is good air circulation between the plants; so, do not sow too close to one another and spray rock flour every few weeks, which helps to strengthen the cell walls and it forms a barrier against mould spores and insects.

Pre-sowing indoors
Pineapple cherry, endive, artichoke (until the end of this month), eggplant, basil, green celery, celeriac (until the middle of March), kohlrabi, paprika, peppers, parsley, celery (until the middle of this month), greenhouse cucumber, leaf celery and tomatoes.

Sowing in the greenhouse in March
pre-sow in pots
Artichoke, asparagus, beets, cauliflower, leaf cabbages, celery (until the middle of this month) broccoli, peas, autumn leek, celeriac (until mid-March), kohlrabi, onion, snow peas, red cabbage, pointed cabbage, lettuce, savoy, sprouts and white cabbage.

Sowing in the greenhouse in trays
All leaves and herbs, beets, pea shoots, spring onions, radish, turnips, lettuce, chard and carrots.

Sow in the greenhouse in the open ground
Endive, beets, chervil, kohlrabi, coriander, mustard leaves, radish, turnip greens, rocket, lettuce, spinach, scallion, garden cress, lamb’s lettuce and carrots.

Written by Madame ZsaZsa

Mme Zsazsa has been writing - always with vegetables in the lead - about blogs, books and columns for newspapers and magazines for about 15 years. But much more so than sitting indoors, she gets her hands dirty in the vegetable garden and greenhouse during the day, while she muses about the food that comes out at night.
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