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Cover any bare vegetable beds with a thick mulch of compost as this will not only add nutrients and deter weeds, but also help warm up the soil beneath. Over time, the wee beasties will take all that down into the main soil structure. In other beds, parsnips, carrots, shallots and onions can be sown, though it might be an idea to cover with a cloche. If you didn’t sow in late autumn, sweet peas can be sown up in long rooted modules and kept in a frost-free place, watering in, but not saturating. Check back to November for fuller details.

Containers that have been thoroughly cleaned can be loaded with growing compost ready for spring and summer planting. Any frosts we have will not cause any harm and once the weather warms up, all is ready for those delightful displays you’ve already planned!  Some spring plants, such as primrose, wallflowers and myosotis can be planted up now, the latter being really good for containers as it is such a prolific spreader when in open ground.


Towards the end of the month, chitted potatoes can be planted out in beds or bags – the latter really does work well if there is a shortage of space and can be placed almost anywhere in the garden. Put about 10cm of compost into each bag, then place 3 - 5 chitted potatoes, eyes uppermost, and spaced out. Layer a further 10cm of compost over the top.  As new growth begins to show, continue to layer with more compost.

Other vegetables that can be sown this month include lettuce, carrot, salad onion, beetroot, spinach. Provided your veggie plots are clear of weeds and have been healthily fed, most of your annual vegetables can be sown this month. The exceptions are peas and green beans which are best left until April.


Potatoes planted up in March or April should now be showing their greenery. It is important to cover the new growth as it shows – either by pulling soil up from surrounding earth or covering with some fresh compost/soil mixture. By continuing to cover the growing plant, green potatoes, which are poisonous, are avoided. It also promotes more tubers, so a greater yield. Once the flowers appear, this can be reduced and it won’t be too long before the potatoes are ready to harvest!

Tomato seedlings can be planted up into their large pots in the greenhouse. Make sure support canes are placed in the soil before planting the seedling so there’s no danger of damage to the stems. Roots will grow from the stem sides as well as the base, so plant as deeply as your pot will allow so a good, strong root system can flourish.  Water in and, once the stems have grown taller and thicker, they can be tied onto the canes.  Make sure they don’t dry out, but never over water.  If you can grow tomatoes outside, wait until the end of the month when danger of frost is over.

Peas and beans can be sown direct into the soil as can carrot, beetroot and all salad vegetables. Pop in some parsnip and turnip so there’s an abundance of root veggies for soups later in the year. Sow some purple flowering broccoli up to the end of May for cropping early next year, but take care to cover with butterfly netting otherwise Mrs Cabbage White will help herself.


Sweetcorn can be harvested mid-month; check they are ripe by sticking a fingernail into a kernel and if creamy it's ready; if it's watery, unripe  and if it's paste-like, it's overripe. Remove ripe corns with a sharp twist and pull. Early this month, spring cabbages can be sown in a patch that hasn’t been manured since last year.  Some lettuces and spring onions can still be sown as well as winter lettuce and brussel sprouts.  Most herbs can be propagated now by placing the 2-3” cutting into very sandy soil, watering only gently in the evening until the roots have formed and then leave fairly dry until transplanting in the spring.

If you already have strawberry plants, August is the time to give yourself more plants and this can be done by using the runners from the main plant.  Cut back the parent strawberry plant, leaving 3 or 4 runners attached, then pin these runners into individual smallish pots of compost and sand sunk into the ground and give them a good watering. Once the runners have rooted well, they can be detached from the parent and planted up to grow on for next strawberry season.


In the veggie plot lift and store root crops such as carrot, beetroot and turnips as they’ll start to spoil if left too long. Others such as potatoes, salsify, parsnips can happily stay in the ground until you need them. It’s worth considering leaving a space fallow for a year so that the soil can regenerate in a natural way. It’s easier to do if you have raised beds as just one is left alone and the others can continue to be used. Fallow rotation can be utilised in the same way as crop rotation.


Plant up garlic cloves now as a fuller flavour and higher yield will be achieved if the bulbs endure sharp frost during the winter. The bulbs can either be planted direct into the ground about 6” apart or in small pots or modules kept in a cold frame until the spring when the resultant ‘seedling’ can be moved to the veggie plot.


There are a number of edibles that can be grown over winter such as parsnips, leeks and broccoli but make sure you have butterfly netting to spread over the latter as Mrs Cabbage White just loves that plant as a nursery - as I've experienced to my cost! 

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