This is the month when we start seeing brighter sunnier days and can get fooled into planting things out too soon. The soil needs to warm up a bit more first and drain after all the heavy rain we have had recently. Seeds planted in cold wet soil will simply rot. So as you get your beds ready don’t forget to add in as much compost as you can get and maybe add some pelleted fertiliser to scatter on prior to planting; I use the plant based one Viano and I have also bought some seaweed feed for giving everything a boost once they have started growing.
So it’s time to get the seed packets in date order so you can get plants started at home, in greenhouses or cold fames ready to go out when the weather is better; remember we can get frosts up here into June, so putting out courgettes now will end in tears, keep them back and growing somewhere cool until towards the end of May. Likewise most seed packets give the earliest sowing date as if you lived in the south of England, always best to aim for the middle date they suggest for sowing directly.
I am planting out broad beans and onion sets now; the potatoes went in at Easter. I have the early peas growing in my cold greenhouse ready to go out at the end of the month and I have started to sow cabbage seeds and cucumbers and gherkins. The leeks I planted in pots a month ago are doing well and will be planted out when I find a suitable space and they are a bit bigger.
I still have leeks, sprouts, kale and purple sprouting growing so it’s a bit of a juggling act as to which beds are ready to go and how that fits with the crop rotation I try and practice.
If you haven’t already got them going then this is your last chance to plant chilli seeds, , or you can buy plants from the organic gardening catalogue. This is the month to sow tomato seeds for plants that you will grow outdoors this summer. It’s also time to think about sowing squash seeds inside and before long the sweet corn can be sown in pots.
There is still time to buy some wildflower seeds and get them going for some lovely summer colour – Boston Seeds have a good selection.
- Refresh to top few centimetres of compost of long term plants
- Pot up dahlia tubers
- Plant gladioli, galtonia, eucomis
- Sow half hardy annual in pots to plant out later, such an cosmos, antirrhnums, nicotiana, marigolds
- Plant potatoes
- Plant out veg seedlings and cover with a fleece
- Sow indoors the tender veg of cucumbers, courgettes, squash, sweetcorn
- Feed spring bulbs for a good showing next year
- Plant sweet peas outside