Planting Out

All tender plants are at risk from frost until the end of April/ May and need to have protection in a greenhouse or conservatory so if you buy plants over the next few weeks, make sure they are fully hardy before risking them outside.

Long-term, hardy shrubs or trees should be fine for planting outdoors now, even if they are carrying blossom. If you took late autumn or winter cuttings of pelargoniums, fuchsias or other tender plants they will need re-potting now.

If you grow courgettes, marrows or squash, now is the time to sow seeds and these will also need early protection in the greenhouse. Use 9cm plastic or degradable fibre pots. Fill each with potting compost and insert one seed up to 2cm below the surface.

Move your plants to a coldframe during this month and harden them off in May before planting out. Although it gets a little more difficult each year that passes the dry, sunny spell in the middle of March encouraged me and other allotment holders to make a start on rotovating or digging the ground. For me there’s nothing as satisfying as the sight of freshly turned-over soil, ready to be planted with whatever I want to grow throughout the summer.

My Dad was the same and was devoted to his allotment and he was fortunate that his patch was just across the road from our house.