All this sunshine and suddenly it feels like summer, it’s very tempting to sow seeds outside and get those little plants into the ground. But in this corner of Surrey we had a ground frost a couple of days ago and it’s still chilly at night, so patience is called for, low temperatures stop seeds germinating and growing.
It all depends where you live of course, the south of England is fairly mild, so I’ve sown a few hardy-annual flower seeds down at the allotment, just a small line of them to see how they get on. I’ll sow more in a couple of weeks.
It’s all about protection at this time of year, the swiss chard, carrots and beetroot seeds that I’ve sowed have been covered with a small tunnel for added warmth.
Sowing inside continues, with tomatoes, basil and chillies growing on the window sill.
Pricking out seedlings:
When the indoor seedlings have a couple of true leaves, that is ones that look like the plant rather than just the pair that cover the seed, I’ll carefully dig them up using a pencil to tease them out of the soil and plant them in their own little pot. The roots are delicate, so holding them by their leaves is recommended
I’ve planted 50 onion sets leaving their little pointy tops sticking out of the soil, this is the last month for planting them.
Pruning plum, peaches and cherries:
Now that the leaves have unfurled, I’ve been pruning my plum tree. The cut surface is slow to heal, if they’re pruned earlier in the year the dreaded silver- leaf fungal disease has a chance to get in. It’s easy to see the dead wood and cut it out, I’m aiming for an open centre to let air and light in.
I love having fruit-bushes at the allotment, they don’t need much attention after they’ve been pruned. They need netting over them to stop bullfinches pinching the flowers, look out for sawfly larvae under leaves too and pick them off before they start munching the leaves.
Rhubarb needs even less attention, this is what they all looked like last summer.
These are perfect quick growing plants for ground that won’t be used untl August, sow clover, phacelia or alfalfa. They’ll stop weeds growing, just dig them in before planting your vegetable crop and they’ll add structure and nutrients to the soil.
More about green manure here.