Saturday, 24 March 2007


Photo: Peach blossom.

Outdoor sowings
Crops to sow outdoors or under cloches now include broad beans, beetroots, brussels sprouts, summer cabbages, leeks, lettuces, hardy peas and radishes.

Seed potatoes
Set out seed potatoes in trays and stand in a cool, bright position for shoots to form. Early varieties can be planted in March, but plant main-crop potatoes later in April.

Plant shallot sets now, spacing them at 15cm (6in) intervals in rows 30cm (12in) apart. When the conditions have warmed up later this month, onion sets can be planted out into a firm seedbed.

Early blossom
Protect flowers on trained or compact fruit trees on frosty nights. Remove covers in the day for insects to reach the blooms. Hand-pollinate the flowers of peaches and nectarines with a soft brush.
Plant out Jerusalem artichokes. It’s about the time of year to plant the seeds of peas, early carrots, salad onions, beetroot, spinach, cabbage, radish, and turnip. Keep them in a cold frame or greenhouse and protect them from rodents. I lost all my first sowings in one evening when mice got into my cold frame a few years ago


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