Gardening calendar: sow sweet peas and plant new hedges – Telegraph.co.uk

Salad days: it’s time to plant your salad crops (ALAMY)

Lettuce
(mizuna,
salad
rocket
, green
oak leaf lettuce
) and hardy herbs (coriander,
flat-leaf parsley
‘Giant of Napoli’, and garlic chives)
can be sown into gutters. Space the seed at least an inch apart into
multipurpose potting compost. Once germinated, slide your hand between each
plant and push the seedlings out, one by one, into their final garden
position.

3 Start forcing potatoes
in bags

My favourite for forcing is ‘Winston’. Roll down the sides of a 50 or 70 litre compost
bag to about half its height, make a few holes in the bottom for drainage
and fill the bag to about 12in (30cm) with compost. Use one third molehill
soil if you have it (or a soil-based compost such as John Innes No 2) and
two thirds compost. Use two tubers per bag and just push them into the
compost mix. Back fill with another 6in (15cm) or so on top. Water in well.
Place sacks
in a bright and frost-free spot.

4 Sow sweet
peas

Sow two seeds into Rootrainers
(or loo rolls), 1in (2.5cm) deep into each pot/cell filled with multipurpose
potting compost. Surround with plenty of mouse control – germinating sweet
peas are mouse caviar.

5 Divide perennials

Divide and conquer: dig up perennials and split them up (ALAMY)

Split up mature clumps of perennials (such as euphorbias,
phlox,
heleniums
and crocosmia).
Dig up the whole clump and slice chunks off from around the edges. Replant
with plenty of organic matter in their new position.

6 Order and plant bare-root
roses

Much cheaper and often stronger growers than pot-grown plants.

7 Plant bare-root fruit
bushes
and raspberry
canes

Berry good: remember to put out your raspberry canes (ALAMY)

The next couple of weeks is the last chance for this. The soil is now warming
up, but is still moist, so plants will grow away well without the need for
heavy watering.

8 Plant a new hedge

Now is a good time, particularly for a mixed native or hawthorn hedge. On
heavy soils, trials have proven that plants establish better from planting
now than they do in autumn or winter, when the roots can sit and sulk in the
cold.

9 Top-dress pots

Revitalise permanently planted pots by
scraping out the top layer of old compost to a depth of 2-3in (5-7.5cm) and
adding the same amount of fresh. Fork it into the old compost surface.

10 Reactivate your compost heap

Take advantage of the warmer, drier weather: turn the whole thing into a new
bin and water on a compost activator, such as comfrey juice or seaweed.

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