Your greenhouse and potting shed will probably resemble a busy bus station this month with hundreds of seedlings queuing to take the trip to the great outdoors. Despite the seedling scrum don’t be tempted to transplant too early – snow and frost are still possible! Here’s a few jobs I’ll be getting on with over the next few weeks…
Spread peas and love
Once you’ve experienced the taste of fresh, sweet, garden peas straight from the pod you’ll never want to buy them from the supermarket again. Choose a sunny site and make a shallow trench with a trowel, around 4cm deep, and direct sow 3-5cm apart. If the soil is below 10C or waterlogged, start the seeds off in tall module trays (they need space for long roots) in a cold greenhouse to give them a head start. Once the roots begin to poke out the bottom and they reach 4in tall they can be planted out. Water well and protect with a cloche to improve germination. As each row germinates, sow a new row so you have succession crops. And if you just can’t wait? Sow pea shoots! Scatter on the surface of a seed tray filled with compost, and cover. Snip the tips when they reach 30cm and have a couple of trays on the go for a continuous supply.
Create a wildflower meadow
With more than 95 per cent of wildflower meadows lost due to intensive farming, you can help save precious species on your own patch of poor soil. Pull out perennial weeds, scatter the seed and water-in or leave a section of your lawn un-mown and see what springs up!
Harvest those winter stalwarts
Enjoy the last of the leeks, parsnips, sprouting broccoli and kale leaves before they run to seed (ensure you remove the central stem of old kale leaves so they’re not too tough), and if you protected the nutty bulbs of celeriac with mulch, there might be some of those to harvest too.
Build a seedling nursery
A seedbed is to gardening what a good mattress is to sleep – it’s brings comfort and reassurance when your seedlings need it most. What’s more, a nursery bed acclimatizes young plants to outdoor growing conditions straight away, and gives them a head start when they are transplanted into their final positions. Choose a sunny spot with weed-free soil raked to a fine tilth.