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Seasonal Gardening Tips
 
A year on the plot

As well as good gardening skills, effective allotmenting requires good time management. There is always so much to do and so little time in which to do it. This section sets out a month-by-month plan of action on the allotment so that you will always know what to do when.

January

                Order your seeds, onion sets and seed potatoes if not yet done

                Start off garlic and shallots in pots in a cold frame

                Give a potash dressing to strawberries, gooseberries and currants (white and red)

                Sow sweet peas in a heated greenhouse

                If you have a heated greenhouse, you can also sow French beans in pots

                Start chitting your seed potatoes in pots in a cold frame

 

 

 

February

                Start sowing cabbage, lettuce, peas and cauliflower in a heated greenhouse

                Plant new rhubarb crowns just below the surface

                You can start sowing parsnip seed, but it may be too cold to germinate

                Plant broad beans in pots for an early crop

                Check your stored potatoes from last year; rub off any sprouts appearing

                Tie in new blackberry shoots as they appear and before they get too long

                Start successional sowing of summer spinach

                Start successional sowing of radishes

                You can start sowing your onion sets now if the ground is not too hard or wet

                Sow your first peas in pots in the cold frame or under fleece direct into the ground

                Cover your strawberry patch with fleece or a cloche to warm up the ground

                Prune blackcurrant bushes

 

 

 

March

                It should be safe to plant parsnip seeds

                Start successional sowing of chard, beetroot and spinach

                Plant strawberries and raspberries

                If you've sown early lettuce, they probably need thinning now

                Lift all remaining leeks from last year to give you time to dig over the land for new planting

                Plant sunflower seeds in pots in your cold frame

                Cover rhubarb crowns to "force" them

                Cut back autumn raspberries to the ground

                Plant out onion sets

                Sow cauliflower, summer cabbage and sprouts for summer transplanting

                If warm enough, sow leeks in a seed bed or in pots

                Dig, dig, dig to get your plot ready for spring planting

by Jonathan Clark

 

  April

                Plant early potatoes by the end of the first week and main crop varieties by the end of the month

                Prune gooseberries and currants

                Sow early carrots

                Sow courgettes, pumpkins, squashes, tomatoes, sweetcorn and beans in pots in the cold frame

                Plant peas and mange-touts in pots in the cold frame

                Plant out sweet peas started off in the cold frame

                Weed, weed, weed before they take over

 

 
 
May

                Continue with successional sowing of most vegetables and salad crops

                Earth up your potatoes

                Tie in new shoots on autumn raspberries

                Apply mulch to discourage weeds and retain moisture

                Plant out seedlings from your cold frame once frost danger has passed, i.e. towards the end of the month. These include beans, courgettes and squashes

                Tie in sweet peas as they grow

                Watch out for pests on fruit

                Plant sweetcorn

                Hoe, hoe, hoe - especially bindweed after a wet spell

 

 
 

June

                Plant dahlias

                Start picking strawberries and gooseberries

                Continue to earth up potatoes - just in case

                Harvest asparagus

                Thin out seedlings of beetroot, carrot and lettuce

                Tomato plants can be planted out on your plot

                Pinch out the growing points of peas which have flowered

                It's your last chance for planting runner bean seeds

                Plant out leeks from your seed bed

                Strong runners on strawberry plants should be chosen for propagation

                Start digging up early potatoes (8-10 weeks after planting)

                Feed tomatoes regularly

                Sow early turnips for an autumn crop

                Net blackcurrant bushes

                Sow Florence fennel on the longest day

                Keep fruit bushes and trees well watered and weed-free

                Cut back strong herbs such as mint and chives before they flower

by Tim Halliday

 
 

 

July

                Sow parsley for the winter

                Feed, feed, feed most vegetables

                Depending on the growing season, you can start lifting onions and shallots towards the month-end

                Keep cutting sweet peas

                Replace your strawberry bed if three years old or more

                Finish transplanting your leek seedlings

                It's your last chance to sow successional seeds of most things

                Clear any beds where crops are spent - you'll need them for leeks!

                Keep feeding


 

August

                Courgettes should also be picked

                Cut Jerusalem artichoke stems to a foot from the ground

                Sow main crop turnips

                Stop tomatoes growing when there are four trusses (unless bush variety)

                Hoe, hoe, hoe

                Start sowing successional rows of winter spinach

                Sow red cabbage in a sheltered spot for planting out in spring

 
 

 

September

                Dig up main crop potatoes

                Sow winter salad

                Harvest sweetcorn as it ripens

                Pick early varieties of apple and pear

                Save and label seeds from annuals and perennials

                Plant spring cabbages

                Clean and store canes and other supports as they become free

                Take cuttings of currants and gooseberries

                Start lifting Jerusalem artichokes

by Christine Hawkins

 

 

October

·       Sow winter lettuce in your cold frame

·       Putting a cloche over French beans still growing will extend their cropping season

·       Cut back asparagus foliage, weed bed and apply a layer of manure or compost

·       Prune gooseberries

·       Sow spring bulbs

·       Lift gladioli (if you do this)

·       Remove any yellowing leaves from Brussels sprouts and stake the plants if necessary

·       Sow early peas and broad beans for the spring

·       Lift any remaining beetroot

·       Harvest squashes and pumpkins

·       Plant field-grown fruit trees

 
 

 

November

                Dig, dig, dig

                Start pulling leeks when needed

                Keep a close eye on winter lettuce, especially for slugs

                Ensure you have the seed catalogues you need

                Prune fruit bushes as appropriate for variety

 

 
 

December

·       Start planning next year’s crop rotation, reviewing what worked well and what didn’t in the current year

·       Lift parsnips when needed, ideally after frost

 



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