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by Rose Harvie
Hello, fellow gardeners!
I hope you have all had a good Christmas and Hogmanay, and got any gardening presents that you asked for… useful tools, gardening books, new wellies, etc.
Now is the time to plan what you want to grow.
This depends on the space, time, and tools available.
Maybe you have an allotment, perhaps shared with a friend, or you are a member of a community garden.
Even with just a small space for a few pots or tubs, you should be able to grow a variety of flowers, fruit, and veggies.
If you are concentrating on veggies, plan your rotation as suggested – potatoes, peas and beans, brassicas (e.g. cabbages) and roots, and others.
By now your tatties should be sitting in their egg boxes, shoots upwards, so label them 1st and 2nd earlies and main crop.
Your garlic should now have small bright green shoots, so if you keep the weeds down, you should have nice garlic bulbs in July.
By the end of March, or earlier with a heated greenhouse, you can start sowing salads, tomatoes, and cucumbers.
In addition to using peat-free compost, you can also help nature and your pocket by sharing seeds with gardening neighbours and upcycling your old, lidded plastic containers into seed trays (don’t forget the drainage holes).
Electric propagators can be useful and last many years if you can get one.
When your seeds start germinating, and you can handle them, move them carefully into bigger seed trays, and eventually into their beds or boxes outside.
When April comes you can plant your tatties.
Make holes about 5cm deep, add a little organic fertiliser, and plant them about 30cm apart, in rows at least 30-40 cm apart.
Cover with the soil once the shoots are about 10cm high.
You can plant onions and shallots at the same time; just push bulbs into the soil about 10cm apart.
Potatoes and onions also do well in large pots.
April is also the time to sow early peas, in long rows, up cane ‘wigwams’ or in ‘twiggy’ branches.
Mix with sweet peas for the flowers.
Broad beans, carrots, beetroot, and parsnips can all now be sown outside.
Runner beans, sweetcorn and courgettes are best started inside and planted out when the greatest risk of frost has passed.
Sow your winter brassicas, celery, and leeks in seed trays, ready for ‘pricking out’ into large trays later in the summer before planting into their permanent winter beds.
A wide range of salads – lettuce, radishes, spring onion, parsley, can be sown directly, outside.
Don’t forget to compost your fruit and vegetable waste, together with grass cuttings, layer with horse manure and seaweed if you can get it.
If you don’t already have a compost system, investigate making a New Zealand Box, from upcycled materials.
Finally, why not start a comfrey bed? Russian comfrey grows as a permanent plant, covered with purple flowers to attract bees, and provide masses of thick leaves for your compost.
Advice available from Rose on 01389 762816 or email@example.com