The centres are now full of plantlets of vegetables, salads and herbs. For those that find growing from seed daunting, this is the ideal solution! Remember many need hardening off so be wary about planting them straight outside - ask in the centre for advice if you are unsure.
Many vegetable crops can be sown as seed this month - check the instructions on the packet and plant away! Broad beans, carrots, lettuces, spinach, salad leaves, leeks and chard are just a few ideas to get your healthy, cheap and home-grown food underway! Sow salads in short runs every fortnight to ensure a continuous crop. Don't sow entire packets of seed in one go......the resulting glut is ridiculous!
Plant out brassicas (net them to prevent birds eating them) and grow short term crops such as lettuces and radishes between them to maximise the space. Get ahead with the summer crops - sweet peppers, tomatoes, aubergines and salads can be planted in your greenhouse.
Earth up potatoes – draw the soil up to a ridge over the plants when they are 6 inches tall. Repeat in a month and then again 2 or 3 weeks later. This prevents sunlight getting to the tubers, which turns them green and renders them poisonous
Continue with the spring cleaning. Hoe your borders to get rid of weeds before they take hold. If it’s dry, attack ground elder and the like with systemic weed killer painted onto the leaves. Remember these systemic weed killers are indiscriminate and will kill anything they contact. Dandelions are a monstrous nuisance at this time of year - if you don’t have time to deal with them terminally, at least chop their heads off before they set seed.
Water is a precious commodity - instigate good practices such as using kitchen and bath water for watering, collect rainwater and investigate ways to recycle water for your irrigation. Automatic watering systems are economical with water, as well as convenient! The trick with watering is to water thoroughly once or twice a week rather than little and often (containers etc do need watering every day).
Carry on removing moss and weeds from paths, terraces and drives and keep an eye out for pests around the garden.