Friday, 23 March 2007


Photo: Bromleads like a bit of a wash.


Lets have a look at jobs to do in the greenhouse this week. Don’t feel too left out if you don’t have a greenhouse as most of these jobs can be performed on the kitchen table and windowsill.

Sow tender plants
Seed sowing plans should now be in full swing to raise the summer's bedding plants and tender vegetable crops, such as peppers, cucumbers and aubergines. By keeping a diary of when all the different varieties should be sown, you will be able to ensure everything stays on schedule. Most of the bedding plants that need early sowing, such as busy lizzies, lobelias and petunias, will also require extra heat to encourage speedy germination, so you might consider investing in an electric propagator or do as I do and leave them until the weather has warmed up a bit, they will soon catch up.

Houseplant care
Pot on houseplants and ferns into slightly larger pots. Large-leaved plants, including rubber plants,bromeads and Swiss cheese plants, will benefit from a thorough clean. Wash off dust and grime with a proprietary leaf-shine product or with cotton wool soaked in milk and water.

Plant summer-flowering bulbs

In warm greenhouses, plant pots of summer-flowering bulbs and corms, such as begonias, sparaxis, Dutch iris, anemone, acidantiera and gladioli grandiflorus, which is a new purple variety. They are all easy to grow varieties and are in the shops now.

Damping off
Protect your trays of seedlings from damping off by watering them with Cheshunt compound or a copper fungicide solution. Keep your seedlings growing strongly in good light.

Plant dahlia tubers in trays of compost to encourage new shoots to grow. Any shoots that appear can be used as cuttings in trays of compost

As conditions start to warm up during March, keep the compost just moist and mist over stems with a light spray of water. Dead stems can be pruned back hard. If you are not sure how far to prune, wait until you see signs of new shoots emerging near the base of the stems and prune back to just above these. Once they start to grow strongly, increase watering, feed weekly and pot up if required.


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