We’re teetering on the edge of Spring here in the South-East of England. The days are getting longer, & there’s more bird song around, it really is a time to be savoured.
Its also a time to have plans in place & be getting ready for the garden bursting into life.
Checking seed packets is one of the best things to do, all that promise in a little packet. But be ruthless & discard any packets that are out of date. It’s most disheartening to put all that effort into sowing only for germination to be sparse & have to repeat the whole process, I speak from experience. So harden your heart & use your time well.
Do some gentle hoeing to de-capitate weeds. Its so much easier when they’re small & their roots haven’t got a deep hold in the soil. I say gentle, because you need to keep a careful look out for self-seeded plants from last year that you want to keep.
Cut deciduous grasses back to allow the new growth through, green shoots will already have started, but they’ll romp away when the old growth has gone.
If you have space, its a good idea to stand on boards, moving them around as you progress. This stops the soil becoming compacted, making a big difference to the health of the soil, especially if its clay.
Finish pruning roses, & Clematis viticella as soon as you can, they’ll be springing into growth & some of it will have to be cut off if you leave it too late.
The Vegetable Garden
Check the plan of what you’re going to grow & make sure you have all the seeds you need.
Cover beds with fleece or cloche tunnels to warm up the soil ready for planting later. It makes a substantial difference making the transfer of small plants fro a greenhouse or cold-frame to the big outdoors.
Start sowing seeds outside at the end of the month if the soil is warm enough where you live. Small, new weeds are the best indication that the soil has reached the right temperature. Cover newly sown seeds with a cloche to give them some protection. Rocket & salad leaves are good ones to start with, just sow a few & see how they go, it is nice to make a start.
I’ll start sowing courgette, runner beans, beetroot squash in my cold greenhouse or the cold-frame, at the end of this month. This way I can control their environment & they get going more quickly. I’ll sow a few seeds then wait a week or two before sowing more, just in case the weather turns cold or its very cloudy.
Eventually this will happen:
If you want Gardening Shows for inspiration, The RHS Spring Show is on from the 8th April in London at The Royal Horticultural Halls, information here.
And while we don’t hold with wishing our time away, can I just remind you that British Summertime begins on 31st March.
all photos: Jill Anderson