Gardening plugs

Spring is here so we expect sunshine and showers, and to be wary of the frosts, even into May. For the most part we have missed the icy ground and snowfall this year. But the winds! In between storms, there was plenty of opportunity to be out on the allotment to tidy up from last year’s endeavours, not least to finish spreading the manure, pick the last sprouts and leeks of 2021 before the ‘hungry gap’, and make ready for the first outdoors planting of the season.

March activity in the greenhouse (and windowsills too) usually gives us sturdy plants for the April and May soil. Well-established seedlings in plugs or trays can now be sown outdoors into those (hopefully!) well-prepared, warm-enough beds. For us, this includes cabbages, brussel sprouts, courgettes, chard and lettuce, early beet and tomatoes. The latter we like to spread between selected sunny areas outside (from late May) – and in the greenhouse where we have good control over watering, light and warmth. It is always interesting to see the differences in quality and numbers between the two approaches.

And why plug plants? For us, it is a good discipline. In the deep past we were usually too eager to plant direct in the soil in early spring months. Pests and weather-induced failures would be frequent – even when trying to protect from frosts. To use plugs has twin benefits: controlling the seeds to avoid waste and having the joys of seeing those seedlings grow early in the season, protected and nurtured. Cold frames are always useful for gardeners without a greenhouse. Later in the season, direct planting is fine for us, apart from carrots and parsnips which don’t like their roots moved.

Meantime, more plugs of a very different nature!  Our January Cheese and Wine event was sadly cancelled because of Covid misgivings. But with restrictions lifting, we look forward to our April 27th talk, and to cheese and wine a’plenty at our May 25th AGM.

On another note, the pandemic has certainly given us all time to reflect. As a result, several committee members plan to move on, and so for 2022 we are actively asking for new volunteers to join the committee so that MUWAGA continues to flourish.

Finally, we are delighted that our new website is now up and running at www.MUWAGA.com. As well as showing MUWAGA events updates, this is an exciting new place for members to contribute their own stories, ideas, experiences and advice. Do please take a look.

As the man nearly said: “Let us hoe then, you and I”!

David Betterton

April – May 2022