Even though the Inishowen gardens look like they are still sleeping, there are some veggies we can start planting for a good crop, later in the season.
These veggies should do well in our climate. Shallots can be planted now until the end of March, but the soil must be fairly dry and warm, covering the soil with polythene 2 weeks before planting will do the trick. When planting don't push the bulbs into the ground as this will compact the soil, dig a small hole with a trowel put the bulb in leaving the tip showing. Gardening experts tell you to plant the bulbs 9ins apart in rows 12ins apart. I tend to plant them a lot closer together though because our garden I so limited for space. This doesn’t seem to affect the yield at all and the closer spacing means less space for weeds to get a hold. Deep, well-dug fertile soil in full sun gives the best results though. If you didn't manure the soil in the previous season, rake in pelleted chicken manure before planting.
Now is the time to sow Brussels Sprouts an F1 hybrid such as " Per Gynt" for picking in August, using multi-cells, sow two seed per cell germinating them in gentle heat in the greenhouse. Once they are through remove the weakest seedling from each pair then put them in a cold frame, plant out in early spring, when the weather permits. Summer cabbage can also be sown under cover in multi cell trays. Harden off before planting.
Peppers and aubergines would need to be grown in a glasshouse in this part of the country. Sow the seeds in small pots, at the end of this month. Cover with a fine layer of sieved compost and keep evenly moist, a fairly high temperature is needed 65-70F (18-21C) will give good result.