Posts Tagged ‘March sowing’

March Gardening Advice

March 1st, 2019 | News | 0 Comments

March Gardening Advice - a time for new beginnings in the garden

We can finally say goodbye to winter, and hello to spring. The clocks going forward on the 31st of the month means more daylight and more hours to spend in the garden, which is just as well, as March is a busy month for gardeners. We need to prepare, clean, and more excitingly, start sowing. All those planting lists and plans we drew up over the colder months can now be put into action. This is the month for new beginnings.

But we’re not entirely out of the woods yet, as there’s always the chance of a short sharp frost, or even snow. So, it’s best not to get too carried away with the sowing. What can’t be protected in a heated greenhouse, or under cloches and horticultural fleece, should be saved for later.

This is a month of change, and everyday there’s something new to enjoy. Whether it’s the bold trumpets of a daffodil, or the emerging shoots of a keen tulip, it’s important to take the time to enjoy these moments, as they are all too brief.

In the flower garden

Dogwood

By now your cornus has done its job, so prune before it starts producing its leaves. Cut it down to ground level, so the energy can transfer to the root ball of the plant. This will help strengthen it and enable it to re-grow quickly. Come next autumn, you’ll have tall, strong, colourful whips that will brighten a dark winter’s day.

December-is-the-tiarch Gardening Advice - Now is the time to prune your rosesme-to-prune-wisteria-and-climbing-roses

Prune

As winter gives way to spring, you should be finishing all winter pruning. Fuchsias will now begin to show new growth. Cut to either just above where the new shoots appear, or back to one or two buds on a shoot.

If you haven’t done so, then now’s the time to prune your roses. With all roses, remove any shoots that are dead, damaged or diseased. Shrub roses with flowering shoots should be cut back by 8-12cms. The cut should be made just above a bud. Climbing roses should be pruned back by two thirds, cutting out old branches at the base, as this will promote new growth. Ensure all climbing shoots are suitably tied to a support. For all rose varieties, it’s advisable to disturb the soil at the base of the plant, and feed with a well-balanced rose feed, and water.

Summer bulbs

With the soil warming up, it’s time to plant your summer bulbs. Plant gladioli, freesias and alliums at a depth of two to three times the height of your bulb. Whether they’re going into pots, or straight into the ground, ensure they’re planted into well-drained soil. If not, add grit as bulbs can rot in waterlogged conditions. Place the bulb upright, then cover over and water in.

Dahlias

If you’ve been storing dahlia tubers over winter, it’s time to get them out. Disregard any that are damaged, or have succumbed to the winter weather. Using a good multi-purpose compost, pot them up, and water them in. Place them in a greenhouse or cold frame, and let them slowly respond to the change of season.

Mulch

With warmer temperatures comes warmer soil, which not only wakes your dormant plants, but encourages weeds. Mulching your borders will suppress weeds, and protect plants from those cold nights and sharp frosts. Wood chippings, compost or leaf mould, all do the job, and smarten up any bare border.

Summer bedding

If you’re hoping for a big floral display this summer, then sow now. Varieties to consider include, petunia, lobelia, marigold, larkspur and impatiens. Ensure you have somewhere bright and warm for seeds to germinate. Once they’ve become young seedlings, individually pot up and grow on.

Pests

The arrival of spring also means the arrival of pests. Slugs and snails will be arriving en masse, so be prepared. Check all pots, containers, and any lush new growth. Vine weevil may also be lurking. Remove all pests from site. If you choose to use pellets, ensure you are considering who or what else uses the garden as they can be harmful. Alternatively, use nematodes or organic methods.

Lawns

If you have an established lawn and it’s a dry day, this might be the opportunity to give it the first cut of the season. Nothing drastic, just a minimal trim. Remove weeds, and cut lawn edges with an edging tool.

Paths and patios

Winter may have encouraged lichen and slippery conditions. So, on a dry, bright day, pressure clean all decking and paths. If using chemicals, ensure the water doesn’t harm surrounding plants or wildlife.

Maintenance

Now’s the time to make repairs on any garden structures. Whether it’s fencing, walls, or sheds, inspect closely for any signs of decay and fix accordingly. With flowers only just beginning to stir, this is the time to stain a fence or paint a shed.

On the veg patch

Potatoes

Plant your chitted first earlies into the ground, or potato growbags. If planting them into a trench, tubers should be placed to the depth of 12cm, and 30cm apart.  Keep fleece handy, as frost will damage the emerging foliage, blackening them and possibly killing the tuber. If you’re growing potatoes in growbags, or large containers, place no more than four seeded tubers on a base of 10cm of soil, or compost, and cover over thoroughly. Again, ensure they are kept in a sunny spot, with good drainage.

Fruit

As there’s still a strong possibility of a sharp frost, any flowering or bud-forming fruit trees should be protected by fleece at night. Any frost damage could cause irreversible damage to your budding trees.

If you have strawberry plants, cut away old leaves, tidy the bed and apply a general fertiliser. However, if your strawberry plants are over four years old, or you’re thinking of growing strawberries for the first time, consider ordering bare root varieties.

Once your new plants arrive, place them, roots down, in a few inches of water. With your growing area prepared, plant, water and give them a top-dressing feed. Until they become established, keep fleece handy to protect them from the late frost. Strawberries will grow equally well in containers, pots or hanging baskets.

Raspberries need to be cut. If you have autumn-fruiting varieties, cut down to the base of the plant as this will stimulate the plant to produce new shoots. If you have a summer-fruiting variety, trim the edges to above a bud, and tie-in.

You may find early varieties of forced rhubarb, such as Timperley Early, will now have strong growing stems. These could be ready for harvesting by the end of the month. Once picked, refrain from forcing further as you’ll weaken the crown. Instead, mulch around the crown and leave to rest until next year.

Dig In

If you’ve used well-rotted manure to cover your beds over winter, or green manure, then dig in. To prepare for the growing season ahead, break the matter down until the soil is workable. Ensure any weeds and stones are removed.

March Gardening Advice - if the weather is bad, sow seed varieties in module trays until they're ready to be planted outSow

If you’ve been warming your plots and raised beds with cloches, sheeting or fleece, then you can think about sowing directly into the ground. Early varieties of carrots and beetroot, parsnips, Swiss chard, onions, sprouts and cabbage, are all fit for purpose. With unpredictable weather at this time of year, try to carry out your sowing on a sunny, dry day. Failing that, these seed varieties can also be sown in modules, and kept in cold frames, greenhouses and polytunnels, until you’re ready to plant them out as young plants.

Other Jobs

  • From now until the end of summer, introduce a regular feed to your plants.
  • Reduce water and feed intake on winter plants.
  • Warmer temperatures encourage pests and disease, so check all indoor plants regularly.
  • With new growth, indoor plants may require larger pots. Plant up accordingly.

Mr Fothergill’s Easy Grow Guides: How To Grow Tomatoes

April 1st, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

 

 

There’s nothing like the taste of sweet, juicy home grown tomatoes. One of our most popular varieties and actually a fruit rather than a vegetable, they are also incredibly easy to grow. Although we believe that the prospect of growing and picking their own delicious tomatoes is one of the main reasons many people invest in a greenhouse, the good news is you do not require one. The plants will usually do well, even in our unpredictable British summer, especially when given a warm sheltered spot, plenty of moisture and regular feeding.

You can start the seed off indoors from January, whether on a sunny windowsill, in a heated propagator or warm greenhouse.  Or if you are growing for outdoors then sowing in March and April will ensure you aren’t left tending huge plants that end up blocking out the light on your windowsill!

You’ll be surprised how quickly the seedlings grow and the impressive size they reach in just a few weeks to give you a delicious crop from late summer onwards. Even if you only have room for a few plants, a little effort now will pay dividends later!

It’s often said that the difference between ‘knowledge’ and ‘wisdom’ is that ‘knowledge’ is knowing that tomatoes are fruit but ‘wisdom’ is knowing not to put them in a fruit salad!

Our best selling standard indoor & outdoor varieties are reliable for beginner tomato growers and seasoned gardeners alike, so think about trying from the following selection if you growing for the first time, or if you want to try something new then explore the many tomato varieties on offer in our website.

  • Moneymaker: For many this is the gardeners’ standard choice as it is a heavy cropper of fine tasty fruits approximately 60g/2oz
  • Shirley F1: A true favourite, excellent show bench performer with heavy crops of tasty, high quality fruits. Disease resistance to Tobacco Mosaic Virus, Cladosporium ABC & Fusarium.
  • Ferline F1: Superb quality standard sized fruit with a wonderful flavour & the added benefit of showing tolerance of blight, Fusarium & Verticillium.
  • Sweet Baby: Excellent source of vitamin C & antioxidants, this cordon cherry tomato is well suited either outside or in the greenhouse
  • Sungold F1: Attractive golden fruits which have a very high sugar content balanced with some acidity.
  • Sakura F1: Amazing sweet & delicious flavour, produces lots of fruits that hang in trusses on vigorous plants.
Mr-Fothergills-Tomato-Cherry-Sweet-Baby

Tomato Cherry Sweet Baby

Mr-Fothergills-Tomato-Shirley-F1-Seeds

Tomato Shirley F1

Mr-Fothergills-Tomato-Cherry-Sungold-F1-Seeds

Tomato Cherry Sungold F1

Mr-Fothergills-Tomato-Standard-Ferline-F1-Seeds

Tomato Ferline F1