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With lengthening days helping us shake off the cold, wet winter it’s seed sowing time! Just as well as the soaking rain has made working on the soil very difficult. 
 
Radishes, oriental mustards, rocket and spinach have been sown in modules while structures have been hung from the glasshouse frame to support sweet peas and pea shoots sown in gutters. Using the heated propagator, we’ve sown our heritage tomatoes, chili peppers, parsley and cabbages. With one eye towards May and the Ballymaloe LitFest, we’re busying plotting with Chefs to ensure the best of homegrown ingredients are available. 
 
Of huge importance is managing the soil – by removing old crops (and feeding them to the pigs) and clearing the worst of the weeds, we’re making way for covering the entire walled garden with well-rotted manure. This will then be ploughed in ready for the tiny seedlings currently germinating in the glasshouse. 
 
 
It appears the bulbs are a step ahead of the vegetables and are already making it feel spring-like. In the centre of the Herb Garden, we’ve committed a three-meter square bed to a bulb display that should amaze us with colour, variety and beauty through until September! 
 
 
Finally, it’s time to prune fruit trees – apples, pears, gooseberries, red and white currants. In the cider orchard, by the time we’ve worked through some 350 trees, we’ve had a master class in pruning. 
 
It’s an exciting time of the year with so much planning, plotting and anticipation of planting! If only it was time to put away our waterproofs! 

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