Category

Home and Garden

Garden, Home and Garden

Seeds to Sow in March

seeds to sow in March

Wondering what vegetable seeds to sow in March?

I love growing my own vegetables.  Growing your own food is one great way to take real positive action against climate change.  And growing your own vegetables brings your food miles down to zero!

If you’re a novice gardener here are some pointers of what seeds to sow in March.

how to grow radishes uk

The Seeds to Sow Outside in March

what to sow in March

Beetroot

Sow your seeds 1cm deep into the soil. Space the seeds 10 cm apart, with 30 cm between rows.

Early Peas

Make a flat-bottomed trench around 5cm deep and 15cm wide. Sow the seeds evenly in the trench about 7.5 cm apart, before covering them with a light layer of soil.  If you sow a second row, space it at a distance equal to the height of the final pea crop.

Kohl Rabi

Sow seeds, 1 cm deep in rows 30 cm apart.

Lettuce

Sow thinly at a depth of 1cm, leaving 30 cm between rows.

Parsnips

Sow parsnip seeds thinly at depth of 13 mm, at 15cm intervals.  If growing in rows, sow each row 30 cm apart.

Early Turnips

Broad Beans

Sow seeds at a depth of 5cm, with and 20cm between each seed. They are best sown in double rows, with the rows 20cm part.

Brussels Sprouts

Sow seeds thinly at a depth of 13mm, with 15cm between rows.

Leeks

Sow at a depth of 1 cm, 15 cm apart.  Leave 30 cm between rows.

Radish

Sow seeds thinly at a depth of 1cm, with a spacing of around 2.5 cm between each seed.  If sowing in rows, aim for 15 cm between each row.

Spinach Beets

Sow your seeds 2.5cm apart, at a depth of 1cm.  Leave 30 cm between rows.

The Seeds to Sow Undercover in March

March sowing ideas

Sowing undercover means in a greenhouse.  However, if you don’t have a greenhouse, or don’t have space for a greenhouse a simple cloche (a plastic or glass dome) or mini polytunnel will suffice.  We use plastic food pots rather than buying cloches to recycle and save money.

Summer Cabbages

Sow at a depth of 2cm, 25 cm apart.  Leave 30 cm between rows.

Early Cauliflowers

Sow seeds thinly at a depth of 2cm. Depending on the size of the variety you’re growing, rows should be between 15 cm apart for small varieties to 60 cm apart for larger ones.

Early Carrots

Thinly sow the seeds, at a depth of 1cm, in rows 15–30 cm apart. Thin out seedlings if necessary – you should aim for your carrot plants to be 5 – 7.5cm apart.

The Seeds to Sow in Heat in March

what should I sow in March

To sow in heat you can buy electric seed propagators.   If you’re looking for a thriftier option, you can plant seeds in small pots and sit them on a sunny windowsill.  You can pop a clear plastic bag over them to help trap heat and mositure.

It does mean for a couple of months your windowsills might be overrun with plant pots, however your efforts will be rewarded later in the summer when you have a substantial bounty of fresh vegetables that you’ve grown with your own fair hands!

Tomatoes

Sow in small pots, then either place in a propagator or cover each pot with a clear plastic bag and place on a sunny windowsill. The seedlings need to be kept at around 18°C. Once two true leaves have formed, transplant them into 9cm pots.

Celeriac

Sow celeriac seeds in March in a pot in a propagator, at 15-18°C.  Once the seedling are hardy enough to be handled, transfer single seedlings to individual small pots.  Maintain temperatures of 15-18°C, as excessive cold can lead to premature flowering (bolting).

Peppers

Sow seeds in small pots.  Place the pots in a heated propagator at about 18–21°C, or on a warm windowsill.  If you don’t have a heated propagator, cover your pots with a clear plastic bag or clear lid to trap moisture and warmth.  Transplant your seedlings into 7.5–9 cm pots when two true leaves have formed.

Aubergines

Sow at 18-21°C in small pots.

Cucumber

Sow cucumber seeds on their side, at a depth of 1cm, in small pots. Keep them warm in a heated propagator, greenhouse, or on a sunny indoor windowsill.

Hopefully, this guide on seeds to sow in March will keep you right this spring.  However, it’s not just about the vegetables in March.  Sowing some flowers, such as marigolds and nasturtiums at this time of year is also beneficial by way of companion planting.  These are good at discouraging pests from eating your precious seedlings, as well as being good at attracting pollinators, such as bees.

What seeds are you sowing this March?

Come back soon and visit my post on what seeds to sow in April.  In the meantime, happy growing!   I also have lots of other useful gardening guides on Moral Fibres.  From some great sustainable garden ideas to why you should choose peat-free compost. and how to attract bees to your garden.

Garden, Home and Garden

What to Feed Birds In the Winter (And What Not To Feed Them)

what to feed birds in the winter

Want to know what to feed garden birds in the winter in the UK? Read on for all the details.

Winter is just around the corner and our little feather friends need our help over the cold months ahead.  I’ve put together a little handy Moral Fibres guide on what to feed birds in the winter, to help you and the birds out.

There are a few do’s and don’ts about feeding garden birds that perhaps not everyone is aware of.  Therefore it’s wise to give this a read-over before you pop any food out!

What Food To Put Out For Birds In The Winter

how to feed wild birds in your garden

Seeds

When buying bird seed for garden birds look for a high-quality mixed bag of seed.  Mixes that contain sunflower seeds, maize, and peanut granules are great, as well as ones containing small and large seeds.  These kinds of mixes make them suitable for a wide variety of garden birds.

It is best to avoid mixes containing a high quantity of pulses.  These include split peas, lentils, beans, as well as rice.  This is because smaller species of garden birds (who tend to need food the most in winter) are unable to eat these items.

If you’re feeding birds seed, bear in mind that you’ll need some kind of feeder.  Birdseed can be placed loosely on a bird table*.  Alternatively, pop it in a bird feeder.

Mealworms

Mealworms are appreciated by most garden birds all year round, especially robins and blackbirds.  Buy good quality mealworms from a local pet shop or garden centre, or from the RSPB, and pop them on a bird table*.

If you are especially committed you can breed your own mealworms.  I’m the first to admit that I feel a little squeamish about breeding them, so I am happy to continue purchasing them from a shop!

Fat Balls

feeding wild birds fat balls

The words ‘fat balls’ always make me giggle, but in all seriousness, fat balls are a great source of food and energy for garden birds in the winter.  I find they really solve the question of what to feed birds in the winter.

Fat balls tend to be made of lard/suet, nuts, cereals, and sunflower seeds.  As such they are densely packed with essential energy and fats for birds.  Great Tits love fat balls (snigger), as do other tits, sparrows, starlings, blackbirds, and black caps.

You can make your own fat balls, or you can buy fat balls in pet shops and garden centres.  They tend to come packaged in mesh bags.  A word of warning: never hang the mesh bag in your garden as the mesh can trap birds’ feet.  Instead, take them out of the bag and put them into a fat ball holder*.  Our one above, taken a couple of years ago in a particularly snowy winter, is a metal one from Homebase.  If you don’t have a holder, you can set them on a bird table*.

Fat balls are most appreciated by garden birds in the winter when fatty food sources are hard to come by.  However, you should not put fat balls out in the summer months.  Here they can rot in the heat, and make birds ill.

Bread

Contrary to popular belief, bread is not the best food to feed wild birds.  It tends to fill them up with little nutritional benefit.  Therefore it is best given to birds as part of a varied assortment of food on your bird table.  Any kind of bread is fine, but brown is preferable, and all bread should be soaked first.

Putting out large chunks of bread during the breeding season (spring and summer) should be avoided at all costs in case of natural food shortages.  If a natural food shortage occurs birds may feed bread to their hatchlings – potentially causing them to choke and die.

Nuts

nut feeder

Nuts should always be put out in your garden in a special nut feeder* (as above) that only allows birds to take little nibbles of nuts.  Alternatively, you can crush them into very small chunks, as again nuts can pose a choking hazard.

Other Household Food Scraps

Soft fruits, porridge oats (uncooked), grated cheese, cooked pasta and rice, soaked currants, raisins and sultanas, biscuit crumbs, and pastry crumbs are all great foods to feed birds with during the winter.  Fresh coconut is fine, but desiccated coconut should never be given to birds.

Finely chopped unsalted bacon and fats from other unsalted meats are all ok.  Potatoes, mashed, baked, or roasted are also welcomed by birds.  Anything salted should be avoided on your bird table, as should any margarine or soft fats, and anything mouldy or off.

You can also use soaked cat and dog food, and tinned pet food.  However, it is worth bearing in mind that the use of these may attract cats.

Food scraps should always be placed on a bird table as sprinkling on the ground can attract rats and mice.

Water

Now we’ve established what to feed birds in the winter, it’s important to talk about water.  All birds appreciate it if you can put out a supply of fresh drinking water by your bird table in a shallow container for drinking.  In winter, this will freeze over quickly, so do try and change it regularly.

Other Useful Tips For Feeding Wild Birds in Winter

Clean your feeders, tables, water pots, and birdbaths regularly to prevent the spread of disease in wild bird populations.  A mild disinfectant liberally diluted in water will do the trick.

Avoid the use of ornamental mirrors in your garden too.  Mirrors can confuse birds.  They will see your garden in the mirror and fly straight into the mirror.  This runs the risk of the bird breaking their neck and potentially killing them.

If you are feeding birds very close to your house it is also advisable to place stickers on your windows to deter birds from flying straight at your window.  Again for the same reasons as above.

Once you start feeding garden birds for the first time it will take a little while for the birds to find it, so don’t expect swathes of birds instantly!  Here’s a guide on how to attract wild birds to your garden if you are struggling!

And once you start feeding birds, it is best if you can consistently feed them, especially in winter, as they may come to rely on your offerings.

I hope you’ve found this guide on what to feed birds in the winter useful!  Have fun and do remember to report back here and let me know what birds you have seen in your garden!  You may also attract other animals, such as squirrels, which are also fascinating to watch.  My parents accumulated four regular squirrel visitors to their garden last winter.  It was a lot of fun watching them find inventive and unusual ways to get to the food in the feeders!

ps: here’s how to attract bees to your garden too.

how to feed garden birds