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Many veg seeds can be sown direct, put your supports in place first for climbing varieties such as beans. Otherwise you can sow the seeds into 9cm (3 1/2 in) pots of multipurpose compost and place on the bench in a heated glasshouse or on a warm windowsill. This early sowing can then be moved into a cold frame once germinated, so the plants acclimatise gradually, before being planted outside towards the end of this month.

Further sowings of late peas, radish, carrot, lettuce and beetroot can be made into drills outside. This will ensure you get a continuous supply to harvest throughout the year. Potatoes need earthing up, as the shoots show hoe soil over them to act as a blanket protecting them from frost. Any tender plants you have kept under glass over winter can now start to be hardened off and moved outside but do it gradually.

Plants needs bees so grow as many pollinating plants as possible!

Vine weevil is one of this month’s enemy so either use a biological control* or spend evenings outside picking them off. Another is the dreaded lily beetles. If you are growing lilies in borders or containers, make sure you are vigilant this month as they will be active munching on the foliage of lilies. Adult lily beetles are easily recognisable as they are an attractive bright red colour, keep a close watch over your plants and pick the lily beetles off with finger and thumb as soon as they are seen.

Keep the onions and garlic you planted last autumn well-watered and weed free
Strawberry plants will start to produce a lot of flower, and to encourage a good fruit harvest, feed your plants with high potash granular feed. Carefully work the feed into the soil in-between the plants, or the tops of the containers. Plants in the ground can then have some straw mulch placed around the plants to protect the developing fruit as it grows.

This is the ideal time to sow some of the hardy and quick growing herbs like dill, coriander, rocket, and parsley. As the soil is warmer, so you can sow these seeds direct into the herb or vegetable garden outside in shallow drills, or into containers on the patio ready for harvesting later in the year.

Deadhead tulips and daffodils.
 Once they have finished flowering, prune spring flowering shrubs such as Forsythia,
Hardy annual seeds can be sown anytime this month up to the beginning of June and will reward you with a colourful summer display. Try sowing some nasturtiums, sunflowers, cornflowers, godetia or calendulas.

Towards the end of the month, plant out some of summer bedding plants into their final positions, once the plants have been hardened them off properly for a few weeks in a cold frame so they are acclimatised to outdoor conditions before planting.

A useful resource is the Garden Organics site which has lots of info on e.g. weeds, nematodes and comfrey!

Terry's Tomato Tips

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From Val's Plot

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Jack First's Advice

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