Growers Corner: Spring

Spring's here, it's time to get busy in the garden and Capital Growth's Julie Smith shares her tips on where to focus your efforts.

This article first appeared in The Jellied Eel magazine issue 59, Spring 2019 

Be a tomato hero: prune your vine and indeterminate cultivar tomatoes regularly to reap lots of ripe fruits. Snip side shoots and all the leaves under the first truss of flowers to allow for good air circulation. If grown outside, only leave 4 to 5 truss of flowers on the plant. For indoor tomatoes, you can go up to 7 or 8 flower heads.

Grow the rainbow: plants colourful carrots like ‘Purple Haze’ and ‘Yellowstone’ either directly outside in drills  2 cm deep and 15 cm apart, or using root trainers to start your seedlings indoors.

Save your seeds:You can easily save seeds from self pollinating tomato, French beans, peas and lettuce, and keep varieties that have done well in your garden. Select the best plants for seed saving and learn how to become self sufficient

Build your soil: Work on a crop rotation (growing different families of crops in succession to avoid depleting the soil and limit pests), and plant green manure like clover, buckwheat and phacelia in between your crops to enrich the soil in organic matter.

Squash it: Sow squashes indoor in April, and take them out in early June. A couple of plant is enough, as you don’t want to be faced with squash overload. I like patty pan varieties and ‘Crookneck squash’ for their incredible shape.If you are worried about slugs and snails, use protective rings on your courgettes.

Grow for wildlife: Include a range of wildlife friendly flowers in your garden (Calendula, Anise Hyssop, sunflower and poached egg plants are all great) and leave untouched piles of wood as insect shelter. Grow a diverse variety of plants to offer shelter to bords, butterfly and insects.

Get involved at the upcoming Big Dig 2019 on Saturday 27 April where gardens across the UK open up to visitors to learn more about the benefits of growing together. #BigDig2019

Blogs

Main picture: Julie Smith