GREEN FINGERS: Work in the garden can start in earnest

Just as I thought the weather was beginning to improve, as I write this article, we are being battered by gale force winds yet again.

However, the long range forecast does look to be improving, as it should. We have just got through what must have been the wettest winter and spring on record so no doubt they’ll be talk of a hosepipe ban in just a few weeks time!

With a few dry days and some welcome sunshine, the ground has started to dry out and so it won’t be long before we can start planting. Although we have all been frustrated by the weather, we have to remember that it’s still far too early to be planting any tender plants out just yet.

If you are lucky enough to have a greenhouse then you can get some tender plants such as runner and french beans, courgettes and cucumbers on the go and, by early May, these can be hardened off outside prior to planting out.

This year, we are all going to struggle with garden pests. With a mild and wet winter, we will be inundated with slugs, snails and aphids. How you choose to deal with them is entirely up to you, but expect a battle this year.

Perennials are bursting through now and so, if you have spare space in the garden, you can always divide them up to fill any gaps in your borders, or give some to friends and neighbours.

If you have been able to work your ground, then there are plenty of seeds you can sow, such as carrots, parsnips, beetroot, lettuce and radish. Onion sets can be planted out now, but check daily as birds often pull them out of the ground.

Second early potatoes can also go in now, followed by main crop two or three weeks later. Now that the spring bulbs are over, it’s time to give them a high potash feed such as tomato food. Sweet peas should be going in now – and it’s the best time to take those dahlia cuttings!