Garden Action

The premier gardening information source

MARCH 8th to 15th

Susan Explains Giving Plants an Early Start
Windowsills are a good place to germinate and grow seedlings on. The heating in your house will ensure a reasonably even heat throughout the day and night. Don't place them too near a radiator though. As the radiator goes on and off it will cause large temperature variations which is not good.
Because the light only comes from the window, as soon as the seedlings emerge, turn the pots once a day so that each side of the plant gets a share of the light.
Think about the space you have. When the seed lings grow larger they will need more space, crowding them encourages disease.

In the "Susan Says April Week 2" article, I'll explain about hardening off your plants. This week we have started off seeds for bedding dahlias, marigolds, peas and broad beans in pots on a windowsill.

Vegetable to Sow Outside this Week
This week is the time to onion sets or seeds, peas and parsnips. If you didn't sow broad beans and garlic in autumn then now is your second chance. With onion sets and garlic cloves it's important to dig over the the top soil first. Don't force the sets / cloves into the soil, dig a little hole and cover them with soil gently firmed down. If you force the sets / cloves into the soil their roots will force them up later in the year rather than growing into the soil. See also the paragraph below for feeding the soil.

Long Lasting Plant Feeds at Sowing / Planting Time
When sowing all seeds (sets and cloves as well) it's a good idea to add some Blood, Fish and Bone fertiliser (ask at any garden centre) to the planting area before sowing. Spread a couple of handfuls to every square metre (yard). Dig it into the surface of the soil with a trowel. Do this immediately before planting or sowing. The feed can be topped up with a general purpose nitrogen feed (e.g. Growmore) later in the year for those plants which need it.

Feeding Established Plants
Now is also a good time to give a long lasting feed to established plants and trees. For fruit trees, Scatter three or four handfuls of Blood, Fish and Bone in a metre (3 foot) circle around the base of the tree. Gently trowel it into the soil,

Top fruit such as raspberries, currants, blackberries and gooseberries will also really appreciate a sprinkling of Blood, Fish and Bone around them and gently dug in.

Mowing the Lawn
Around this time of the year the lawn starts to spring into life. We took advantage of a dry day this week and made the first lawn cut of the year. We set the height one notch higher on the lawnmower for this first cut. We'll do the same for the next cut in a few weeks time then we'll lower it back down one notch.

More Information
For more detailed information and timings go to our individual vegetable, herb and fruit pages. If you want to see a condensed vegetable advice page with planting, sowing, care and harvesting information for the entire year on one page then go to our vegetable calendar.