Tips from Alex – Feb 2017

Plan your plantings by Alex Martin

 In truth, little can be done at the moment other than general tidying. Ideally, ground preparation should have commenced in autumn of last year but it is far from too late. Walking on cold damp soil at this time of year can do more harm than good, best to wait until the ground has warmed up a little.

If you want to grow more of your own produce and perhaps enter the annual Wellow and District Flower Show , start by determining what you want to grow and then look at last year’s schedule to make a selection from that of those fruit, vegetables and flowers that you want to grow. There are many categories that are relatively easy to grow e.g. onions, shallots, carrots, beetroot, courgettes and beans. Flowers that are easy to grow are sweet peas, roses and dahlias. If you are planning to enter the annual show, don’t forget that as members you can also enter the open classes as well as those reserved for members.

Next in the process is seed selection and purchase. I receive a number of catalogues and greatly enjoy spending a few hours on a cold wintery day making my selections. These will be based on what does well in my garden plus some new varieties not tried before. If you have access to the internet you will find many companies offering seeds and other horticultural sundries.

I have narrowed down to my selections to two catalogues. These are made on the range of varieties available and on price.  The catalogues I use most are that of Kings Seeds and Mr Fothergill .  Seeds produce good results and, when compared to the same seeds in other catalogues, they are usually substantially cheaper.  It’s not too late to order seeds so why not get cracking? They will be received in good time for the start of the main sowing season, March onwards. If you want to make life easier and avoid the hassle of seed sowing, you can always order ready grown seedlings or garden ready plug plants. Of course, these are more expensive but will get you off to a flying start. Sowing your own seed will usually mean that you produce more plants than you need. These can be donated to the plant sale held by the Society in May where you can also buy some of the plants you have not been successful with or have not even thought of growing.

Later next month I hope to be able get onto my vegetable plot to prepare some ground for sowing. I shall also be sowing my tomatoes, sweet peas and broad beans to get them off to a head start when planted out. In the meantime why not give some thought to planning what you want to grow and making your seed selection.

Good luck,