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Get planting your bare-root fruit trees, containers and cold-stored strawberry runners. It's a key time for strawberries - planting, sowing seeds of alpine varieties or even pollinating strawberry flowers under glass.
Last chance to plant bare-root fruit trees, and ideally plant container-grown ones too.
Plant cold-stored strawberry runners.
Sow seeds of alpine strawberries.
Plant cranberries and lingonberries.
Plant onions, shallots and garlic sets.
Plant Jerusalem artichoke tubers.
Chit early and maincrop potatoes.
Plant asparagus crowns.
Sow seed outdoors in mild areas with light soil, eg: broad beans, carrots, parsnips, beetroot, onions, lettuces, radish, peas, spinach, summer cabbage, salad leaves, leeks, Swiss chard, kohl rabi, turnip and summer cauliflower. Be guided by the weather, and sow only if conditions are suitable.
Sow seed indoors of sweet peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines, celery, salads and globe artichokes.
Carry out formative pruning of newly planted fruit trees if the weather is dry.
Untie canes of blackberries and hybrid berries that have been bundled together for the winter, and train into arches before the buds burst.
Never prune grape vines after late winter to avoid sap bleeding, otherwise vines can be seriously weakened or even killed.
Place mice controls near stored vegetables.
Protect early seed sowings from slugs.
Protect brassicas from pigeons.
Look out for grey mould and brassica downy mildew on brassicas.
Control aphids and other pests on fruit but don’t spray when in blossom.
Get on top of weed control if not done in late winter and continue through to summer.
Protect fruit blossom from frost, but make sure insects can access the flowers or else hand pollinate them.
Apply a nitrogen feed to plums, cherries, cooking apples and pears as they’re hungry feeders.
Switch to a summer feed for all citrus trees.
Increase the watering of citrus as growth resumes.
Pollinate strawberry flowers under glass by brushing over them with your hands.
Mulch raspberries, blueberries, cranberries and lingonberries with well-rotted farmyard manure (not mushroom compost as it is too alkaline).
Apply a high nitrogen feed to blackcurrants.
Apply sulphur chips to beds of blueberries, cranberries, and lingonberries if needed.
Apply a mulch around fruit trees, nuts, and bushes as long as the ground isn’t frozen.
Repot or top dress container-grown fruit if needed.
Cultivate and prepare seedbeds, covering them with clear polythene or fleece to warm up the soil before sowing.
Protect early outdoor sowings with fleece and polythene.
Feed crops that have been standing all winter.
Continue to force chicory.
Put supports in place for peas.
Start preparing runner bean supports and trenches for sowing (in May) or planting out (in June).
Prepare celery trenches.
Try to avoid digging in wet weather, but if gardening on wet soil, work from a plank of wood, to avoid treading on the bed and compacting the soil.
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