Gardening calendar: plant onions and re-pot tomatoes –

Get ready for a mass sowing of hardy annual veg, such as spinach,
and radish.
On heavy soil, integrate plenty of grit and organic matter. On freely
drained soil, only muck and/or compost need to go in.

3. Start staking delphiniums
and tall perennials

Flower power: stake out your perennials (ALAMY)

They’ll soon be tall enough to be knocked over by wind or heavy rain. If you
can get your hands on some hazel or silver birch pea sticks, use them to
weave a basket, which works just as well but looks so much nicer than metal
or plastic.

4. Make sure you’ve got plenty of farmyard manure

Spread it around the base of your roses.
This helps strong growth and decreases the likelihood of infection with
fungal disease.

5. Plant out shallots,
and onions

Disease-dodging: remember to move your onion bed every year, to keep your
crop healthy (ALAMY)

You may have started these in modules in March, but it’s still not too late to
plant shallot and onion sets if you forgot. It is important to move the
onion bed around every year to prevent the build-up of diseases such as
onion white rot, so don’t put them where you had any of the onion family
last year. Plant the rooted sets 4in (10cm) apart with the same spacing
between the rows. They thrive in a sunny, well-drained situation. Keep
weed-free, especially early on.

6. Pot on tomatoes

It’s tempting to move tomatoes
from a module or seed tray straight into their final, large planting pot,
but this slows growth. Tomatoes like to feel contained and cosy; their roots
can’t cope with a large volume of compost and tend to rot. Pot them only one
size up and add a cane at their side to support them as they grow.

7. Prick out cut flower seedlings

Good examples are Bells
of Ireland (Molucella laevis)
, amaranthus,
tithonia and cleomes.
Remember, get as much root as you can by pushing your dibber (or use a rigid
plant label), right down to the base of the seed tray and lift from there.

8. Divide globe artichokes
or cardoons

Easy job: you can divide globe artichokes without digging up the mother
plant (ALAMY)

You can do this without digging up the whole plant. Both form distinctive
satellite plants from the root base. Slice off one or two of these and
replant – with plenty of organic matter in the hole – and you’ll have
multiplied your stock with almost no disturbance to the mother plant.

9. Keep on top of the weeds now

You’ll save yourself hours of work later on in the year. It’s particularly the
early flowerers and self-seeders such as bittercress and groundsel which you
need to hoe off and collect before they spread themselves willy-nilly.

10. Last chance to cut back shrubs

Especially those grown for colourful winter stems (e.g. dogwood, willow). Cut
back to buds about knee height, then feed and mulch. You can use the offcuts
as new propagating material. Take foot-long cuttings and sink them into the
ground to about 9in (23cm) depth.

Buy plants,
tools and accessories
from the Telegraph Gardenshop.


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