Let’s get growing

Prepare Vegetables

As Winter comes to an end and Spring is only just round the corner, it’s time to start thinking about plant your first lot of salad vegetable seeds such as lettuce, radishes and carrots. Remember it’s still cold out there so you’ll have to start them off in the greenhouse until the outside temperatures rises.

Protection

As your fruit trees and bushes, eg strawberries, soft fruits, and small fruit trees, start to flower, there’s still a chance that they can get caught by the frost so you’ll need to keep them protected by covering them with a fleece or other crop covering. You’ll also need to keep your surrounding grass short as long grass prevents heat being radiated from the soil and apply mulches to help radiate heat and protect the blossom. Wood pigeons can be quite a nuisance in the growing patch so to protect leaves from being ripped off, put netting over them.

Post Flowering Pruning

Any deciduous shrubs that have finished flowering over the Winter will now need pruning back to allow maximum time for the development of new growth and flowers before the end of summer. Don’t forget to much and feed after pruning.

Wisteria – Wisteria can get out of control if not kept in check regularly. By pruning it back every February and July/August should help keep it’s size and growth manageable and improve it’s flowering abilities. Cut the growth shoots to two or three buds so the new flowers won’t be obscured by leaves.

Chit Potatoes

Chit your potatoes ready for planting early April or mid March if the weather has taken a turn for the better. Place your tubers in single layer on a tray with the rose end pointing upwards. The rose end is the one that has the most eyes or buds which will sprout. Keep your trays cool but frost-free place with moderate light out of direct sunlight, such as an unheated room. You’ll soon start to see sprouts forming, getting to around 5cm long after about six weeks.

Propagate Bulbs

Seed – Dry out spent flowers and collect the seed for sowing. Sow thinly in a cold frame propagator with a fine layer of compost and grit on top. Keep the compost moist and wait for them to germinate.

Division – Some bulbs develop offset or baby bulbs. You can split these from the main bulb and pot them up.

Bulbils – These are the tiny bulbs-like pods or large seeds that grow in the leaf axils of the plant, on a lily plant for example. Carefully remove them and sow as normal. Keep the compost moist and leave in a cold frame or on a sunny windowsill until they germinate, normally within a few weeks.

Happy gardening!