Fresh buds on roses, and vibrant trumpets of cheery daffodils hailing the new season in. It’s time to put those plans, we drew up over the winter months, into action. However, keep horticultural fleece and cloches close at hand, as winter still has a sting in its tail.
After a hard season, flower borders aren’t looking at their best. Get them spring-ready by removing all fallen debris and weeds, and cutdown last season’s perennial foliage to a few cms above the ground. You can also increase your stock by dividing and replanting these plants. Finally, give the area a heavy mulch, ensuring you don’t cover over plants or shrubs, as this will prevent sunlight and warmth reaching them and can cause them to rot.
Before you sow your first seed, take them time to clear up and clean your greenhouse, cold frames and sheds, including pots, trays and tools. Not only will this get you into the right headset for gardening, but it will get rid of unwanted pests and potential diseases that could harm young plants. Also, wash away the grim on your greenhouse glass with warm soapy water, as new shoots will need all the light and warmth they can get.
If you’re looking for blooms this season, try sowing French marigolds, cornflower or cosmos. Sweet pea can also be sown, but can be tricky to germinate. Try leaving the seeds overnight in a bowl of water, or give the seed a shallow nick before planting.
Fill a small pot or tray with either seed or multi-purpose compost. Tap the container gently, and brush the excess soil from the rim. Sow your seeds thinly and then cover over with a thin layer of compost, or vermiculite. Once labelled, place your container in a couple of inches of water. The pot will draw the water from the bottom, leaving the seeds undisturbed. Finally, place in a bright and warm spot.
If homegrown veg is your thing, then early varieties of peas can be sown indoors. As legumes have a deep root system, ideally you want to sow them in root trainers as they don’t like their roots disturbed. Not only are you providing the best opportunity to grow strong plants, but when you plant out, the roots won’t suffer from stress.
There’s nothing more satisfying than lifting and eating your very own homegrown potatoes. So, if you haven’t started chitting your tubers yet there’s still time. Chitting is simply a process in giving your potatoes a head start. Newly bought tubers should be placed in a warm, dry area with plenty of sunshine. Stand them upright, egg boxes make a great holder, with their eyes facing upwards. After several weeks they should have healthy shoots. Try to keep these sprouts down to the strongest three or four. If you don’t have an allotment or raised beds, consider growing them in sacks or growbags.
Early varieties of forced rhubarb, such as Timperley Early, will now have strong growing stems. These could be ready for harvesting by the end of the month. Once picked, refrain from forcing further as you’ll weaken the crown. Instead, leave the crown to rest for a year.
Spring is a time of hope, optimism and the temptation of a sunny day or two. Whatever you get up to this spring, take the time to enjoy the season and get outside.
Ade is a freelance presenter, blogger, vlogger, writer and multimedia producer. From filming, scripting, directing and editing; Ade creates professional films of garden shows, interviews and live events for various clients. adesellars.com/