Sunday, 4 March 2018



The garden has had its winter rest, but now we must make plans for the spring and summer months. Choose a nice sunny day and check over the garden and allotment to see if all the winter work has been attended to. Digging the vegetable patch
Anna transplanting tomato seedlings
should be complete except for areas where green manures are still growing. All other areas should be weed free so we can go into the next season with clean ground. Fence and shed repairs should also be complete, path repairs completed, roses and fruit bushes pruned and raspberries and blackberries tied in. Any new
Tomato Sungold
plants we would like to grow should be ordered as well as seed potatoes, onion sets and vegetable seeds. Pruning of grape vines should all be completed and as we leave winter behind the snowdrops and aconites should still be flowering to let us know spring is arriving. So now we can turn our attention to growing flowers, vegetables and fruit for 2018.
Many plants on windowsills growing from cuttings, (geraniums, fuchsias, Impatiens, cistus, euonymus) taken last autumn are putting on growth and some need more room, so they will get transferred to my unheated greenhouse and get potted up into the next size pot. Fuchsias and Impatiens, however can be a bit soft, so if any frost is forecast they will come back inside at night.
Potatoes for this year have all been sorted so now they are all perched upright in seed trays beside a window to catch the light, but in a cool unheated room to allow young shoots to grow sturdy and slowly. I keep different varieties separate and all labeled up.
Yellow crocus
This year I will grow a few rows of my favourite early, Casablanca, then some Charlotte and Maris Piper with a new variety Setanta. Satanta is red skinned with resistance to blight, great flavour and is said to grow well in areas prone to drought, (not usually a big problem in Scotland)
Seed sowing can now begin with those crops that like a long growing season or are more cold tolerant so won’t get affected by late frosts.
Onions, sweet peas and broad beans can now all be sown in warm conditions for a few weeks then gradually harden off. I sow my onions in small cellular trays with about forty cells and usually need two trays per seed packet. Broad beans get similar treatment but in trays with bigger cells. Later on once they have germinated and put on some growth they will all be transferred to larger celled trays.
peas are given an over night soak in water (old traditions die hard) then sown individually in cellular trays or use trays with larger cells and put three seeds in each. Again after germination, pot up into larger pots or cellular trays to grow into bigger plants. All of these plants are best kept warm until they make some growth then harden off with cooler conditions in an unheated greenhouse or cold frame. Depending on weather, they should be ready to plant out two or three weeks later.
Rooted Impatiens cuttings
Tomatoes can also be sown now but they are not hardy so need warm conditions till big enough to plant out. I sow mine in seed trays, then after germination at the two seed leaves stage, prick them out into individual small pots. Grow on for a few weeks then pot up so they can grow strongly. Plant them into their final pots, growbags or border once you see the first flower truss. If any sideshoots appear at this stage remove them as tomatoes are grown as single stemmed cordons.
Once we get into March seed sowing begins in earnest as there is numerous vegetables and flower seeds to sow as well as annual outdoor flower borders for poppies, cornflower and many others.

Wee jobs to do this week

Christmas cactus in February
The Christmas cactus, Zygocactus truncatus may be a beautiful festive pot plant where nurseries can time flowering
to perfection for the Christmas market, but the home gardener has a more difficult time. My cactus refused to flower at all, so it got relegated to a light, but cool and sunless windowsill and got dried off to let it go dormant. Six weeks later my petulant plant decided it would like to flower after all, so it was back into the light and warmth and a wee feed to keep it happy so it can show off its flowers, though a couple of months late. Once flowers fade it is back to drying off for its spring rest, then in mid summer young shoots should appear to it is back to watering.


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