Column: ​Spring has sprung in the garden

This month’s gardening column with our expert Kate Giffen is all about Spring!
There are many variety of sweet peas.There are many variety of sweet peas.
There are many variety of sweet peas.

The days are definitely getting longer, the bulbs are beginning to flower and it is not too long to wait now until the growing season gets going in earnest.

There are more options now of what you can get sowing inside and outside either undercover or direct in the ground. I always think it is worth having a go at planting things, even if it is still a little early. You might be amazed at what survives!

I try out any leftover seed I have from last year, or anything I was gifted, as I figure there is nothing to lose. If you haven’t started already, February/March is a great time to get your beds ready for planting.

Daffodils are in bloom.Daffodils are in bloom.
Daffodils are in bloom.

Last month we talked about no dig gardening but whatever your preferred method, both will benefit from a layer of carpet or cardboard to help warm the soil for an earlier planting.

Broad beans can still go in direct or into pots, while shallots, garlic, and onion sets can go straight in the ground. Each shallot you plant, will produce 10 separate bulbs, just so you know how many to plant!

If you have a bit of old guttering, this is an ideal way to start off your peas. Drill holes in the bottom for drainage, then fill with compost and plant.

When the time comes to transplant them, dig a shallow trench, and slide them out directly into the ground. This has the added advantage of not disturbing their roots too much plus it is extremely satisfying.

Purple sprouting broccoli, kohl rabi and Brussel sprouts can all be sown indoors, ideally in deep trays or modules, ready to plant out in April/May.

Bare root fruit trees are often on sale in supermarkets and garden centres at this time of year, so look out for good deals.

Try a Victoria plum perhaps, which can survive perfectly well in damper, shadier conditions and produce abundant fruit for eating or cooking.

If you do sow direct this month, don’t forget you can make your own tunnel cloche by putting horticultural fleece over wire hoops. Peas, for example, and lettuce would benefit from this.

If you are after an even earlier crop, sow some spinach (early variety) indoors in trays, plant out in March and it should be ready in May, possibly April!

Cucumbers and tomatoes (to be grown on in a greenhouse) can also be sown now but they probably need to be in a seed propagator to ensure an even temperature.

If you don’t have either, then wait until March or April.

There is still time to get those sweet peas sown as well and onto a windowsill ideally in a cooler part of the house. Remember to put in warm water to soak for a few hours before you sow them to help germination.

February is also good time to get out and do any maintenance jobs you have been meaning to do or go get a compost bin or water butt.

See you next month where we will look at how to plan out your vegetable and flower bed for maximum cropping!