Sunday, 12 March 2017

A year on the plot.

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

April
Plant early potatoes by the end of the first week and maincrop 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, ie 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
Back to top Picture from the collection
by Jonathan Clark
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
Ask neighbouring plot-holders to water courgettes and tomatoes if you are going away.
Courgettes should also be picked
Cut Jerusalem artichoke stems to a foot from the ground
Sow maincrop 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 maincrop 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
Back to top Picture from the collection
"Natural Structure" by Gillian Skyte
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
Ho, ho, ho
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

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