Critical time of year as soil starts to warm up

Les Foden.
Les Foden.

Just at the moment I seem to be covering the topic of vegetables a lot but there are reasons for this.

It is a critical time for the vegetable garden as now that the soil has warmed up things are really moving.

You should be sowing brassicas in a seed bed. As soon as you have got the peas and early potatoes out these will be ready for planting in their place. The plan is never to have any ground vacant for long. Just to mention again you must trample the soil down before planting brassicas.

Also sow runner beans if you haven’t already done so. This can be done in the open ground or in the greenhouse. Sow a seed in the cardboard centre of a kitchen roll. These are brilliant because once germinated and hardened off they can be planted as they are, no root disturbance and the cardboard just rots away.

These will be ready long before the ones sown outside, which is what you want to keep continual cropping over a long period.

Why not grow some runner beans in a tub at the back of a flower border?

Grown up a wigwam of canes the tub can be placed anywhere in the border.

Not only would it look good with the foliage followed by the flowers and then the beans, but it would also add height to a border.

Also, make sure once the plants are established use a high potash feed such as phostrogen. This will ensure plenty of flowers and so plenty of beans. If there is too much nitrogen there will be plenty of green growth but few flowers.

Always remember that nitrogen makes leaves and potash makes flowers.

Quite often a flowering shrub in the garden will produce a mass of flowers but the following year hardly any. This is because there is too much nitrogen available so give the plant a feed of sulphate of potash a couple of months before it is due to flower again.

Keep a constant supply of quick maturing vegetables such as lettuce and radish so that as soon as one crop has finished another is ready. Sowing every three weeks will ensure this.

Also watch out for blight disease on potatoes. Last year all over the country the potato crops suffered from attacks of blight. The first early crops usually are not affected.

Bedding plants should be hardening off now but it is still too early to plant them out. I always think that the longer bedding plants are hardened off the better the results. A couple of weeks is about right.