Get a headstart with seeds

Get a headstart with seeds
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Finally it’s here – the month when we can get back in the garden. It’s now that nature starts to spring to life, as if from a long sleep – it’s always such a thrill to come across the head of a snowdrop about to come through, indicating floral delights to come!

You should hopefully be over the worst of the harsh winter weather by now, so can kick-start your seed sowing. This early in the year, though, it’s a tricky roll of the dice. In milder areas of the country you should have no problem sowing in the ground or the greenhouse, but those of you in northerly regions might be having a hard time of it weather-wise, and find the ground is rock solid or winds and frosts are still ravaging gardens. Simply wait a little if this is the case!

In veg beds you can sow a nice new supply of broad beans and peas. In rich soil, added to with compost or well-rotted manure, simply sow a row of the seed, making sure there’s a good 10cm between each one. You might like to plant them in a zigzag fashion to save on space, and to sow a few extra seeds at the end of the rows to fill any gaps that might appear. If you choose a rounded (as opposed to wrinkled) pea variety such as ‘Meteor’, available at good garden centres, then wintry wet won’t collect in its crevices and it’s less likely to rot. Try broad bean ‘Aguadulce’, as it’s super reliable. Your peas and beans will be ready to harvest by early summer.

If you’re planning to grow potatoes this year, you can start chitting them now by standing seed potatoes in old egg boxes, with plenty of natural light, and they’ll start to sprout. Chitting simply means you’re encouraging them into growth, and they can then be planted out in the garden.

Meanwhile, in the greenhouse, you can sow no end of flowers and veg. Get down to your garden centre and choose your favourites, to be sure of a fruitful summer harvest. Grow some tasty lettuce, spinach, onions from seed, radishes, cucumber or tomatoes. As for flowers, buy sweet peas, snapdragons or foxgloves todot around your shrubs. Sow seed finely in plug pots or seed trays into potting compost with a thin covering of Vermiculite, which will retain moisture and nutrients, as well as improve the chances of germination. Water gently and label your plants, giving them a drink when compost is dry.

Good luck and I hope your sowings are fruitful!

 MUST-BUY PLANT... Ferns

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This extra-hardy, large evergreen fern will stay put all year round with its classic feathery foliage, which grows anew in spring.

 

EXTRA SPECIAL: Hart’s Tongue Fern

There’s something rather charming about this equally as hardy, evergreen fern. Its frilly upright tongue leaves unfurl sweetly when new.

 

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